• Premier League

Mancini demands City strength

ESPN staff
March 29, 2013 « United trio set for return | Chartbeat test »
Roberto Mancini believes Chelsea and Tottenham can challenge for second place © PA Photos
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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes the club must target FA Cup glory and finish their Premier League programme as strongly as possible.

Although Mancini has said he does not believe his defending champions, 15 points adrift of leaders Manchester United, can retain their title, he wants them to show intensity until the end of the campaign.

City have nine league games left, and their manager has warned that neither Chelsea nor Spurs can be ruled out as rivals for second place.

They take on either United or Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final next month, and Mancini said: "I think when you are a top team and you have good players, you should be very strong when you win or lose. This doesn't change.

"Also, when you can't win a title, you can have other situations that you can improve. For this reason, it is very important to do our best in the next nine games.

"We have the FA Cup and we have to get second position. I am sure Chelsea or Tottenham want to take second. We need to do our best for this reason - we want to stay there."

He said he believed that sealing second place and winning the FA Cup would mean City had enjoyed a good season, but conceded: "We are so disappointed because we can't win the title, but until now I think United have been better than us.

"They probably deserve to stay on top, but we know that, in football, it is impossible to win the title every year. The second year is probably the most difficult.''

City face Newcastle at the Etihad on Saturday looking to bounce back from the poor performance that saw them lose 2-0 to a fired-up Everton in their last league game at Goodison Park.

Mancini said he wanted them to rediscover the ruthless goalscoring streak that proved so decisive in last season's run-in, saying: "In the end, we shot 22 times at goal [against Everton] and didn't score. This is the problem we have had this year - but we didn't play well."

City have captain Vincent Kompany, criticised by Mancini for playing for Belgium in midweek, in contention to return after eight weeks out with a calf injury.

Striker Sergio Aguero is also available after missing three games with knee trouble.

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