News24

Man City change mentality

2011-10-28 15:51

Manchester - Manchester City have risen to the top of the Premier League by totally changing their mentality since last season and by treating away games the same as home matches, manager Roberto Mancini said on Friday.

They went five points clear last weekend with a 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United at Old Trafford with the breathtaking attacking style they often shied away from last term in a more conservative approach, especially on their travels.

In their last three away games in all competitions, City have netted 15 goals rather than be content to tighten up and sit on a slim lead as they might have done in the past.

"Now ... we changed totally our mentality, now for us playing away or at home is no change," Mancini told a news conference.

"This is important if we want to be a top team because the pitch is always the same ... we know we can lose every game if you don't play always 100 percent."

City are at home on Saturday against struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers, a team they will be facing for the second time this week after beating them 5-2 in the League Cup at Molineux on Wednesday.

Mancini was keen for his players to treat the 16th-placed team with the same respect as they did United and reminded them not to get carried away with last weekend's incredible result.

"The problem could be that we think we should play not 100 percent like against United but think we can play 50 percent against Wolves but if we don't play seriously like against United we can have a problem," the Italian said.

"The (derby) game is in history, it is finished; now we should have focus about Wolves. We should stay with our feet on the floor always."

Mancini will balance his team selection with Wednesday's Champions League trip to Villarreal in mind, saying he would make seven or eight changes for Saturday's game (1400 GMT) compared to the side he fielded in the League Cup.

City lead the standings with 25 points from nine games, five clear of United who have a point more than third-placed Chelsea.

Mancini brushed off suggestions his side could emulate Arsenal's "Invincibles" who won the 2003-4 title without losing a game, saying: "I don't think for us this year -- I think we need to improve."

Despite his team's advantage at the top, Mancini has stressed the victory over the champions was only worth three points and that Alex Ferguson's side were still a class above.

"We started the season very well but my opinion is that United is one yard above us -- two yards before the derby," he said.

"United is a United from many, many years -- we want to change this, we need time, we need to improve. For me, what is better is to win six derbies 1-0 than one derby 6-1."

Apart from a different mentality, there has been another change this season which is the improved form of temperamental striker Mario Balotelli, who scored twice against United.

"Mario ... in the last two months was more serious, he trained very well, I hope that he can continue like this but I don't know if it is possible," Mancini said.

As the manager grasped for the right English word to describe a player who has hit the headlines for a series of bizarre incidents including setting fire to his house by letting off fireworks indoors, one reporter suggested "nutter".

"Nutter in a good sense," Mancini agreed to much laughter. "He scored two goals in the derby, he scored a goal every time (he has played), as a player I think he is fantastic."

Reuters