English Premiership

Mancini keeps eye on the ball

2012-12-31 08:50
Roberto Mancini (AFP)
London - Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes the league table is irrelevant until February, ahead of his side's home game with Stoke City on New Year's Day.

City head into Tuesday's match with Stoke seven points behind leaders Manchester United after both teams secured victories on Saturday.

Mancini's side lost two of four league matches, including a defeat by United, in December.

But they responded to a surprise 1-0 loss at Sunderland to pick up a 4-3 win at Norwich City that was all the more impressive due to an early red card for Samir Nasri.

Ever since the 3-2 loss to United, Mancini has maintained that, with half of the season remaining, there is no need to panic and that Alex Ferguson's team's Champions League commitments will affect them in the new year.

His task is set to grow even harder, with Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure departing for the Africa Cup of Nations after the FA Cup tie with Watford on Saturday.

But Mancini has set his sights on still being in touch with United by the time the Ivory Coast duo return, and the Italian is adamant that even United's current advantage should not be seen as intimidating.

"It's not important to look at the table because it's not final, but we need only to work, to win and then maybe we'll look again at the table in February," he said.

"With 10 players, it's difficult. Norwich are a good team but we showed we are there for the title. We fight for every game. The guys were fantastic against Norwich."

Edin Dzeko scored a brace in the victory at Norwich and the Bosnian international believes the victory showed City's staying power.

"There's still a lot of games to play," said the former Wolfsburg striker.

"We lost the last game against Sunderland. We were unlucky, we couldn't find the goal, but against Norwich we fought from the first to the 90th minute.

"Everyone wants to play and I was back (against Norwich) and I gave the maximum."

Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards remain on the injured list for Mancini, while Maicon is also out with a knee problem and Mario Balotelli is doubtful with illness.

City have not won at the Britannia Stadium in six visits since the Potters were promoted to the Premier League, but Mancini's side have found Stoke a much easier proposition at home, with four straight wins against Tony Pulis' men.

Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones hailed his side's team spirit after they came from 3-1 down with 10 men to draw 3-3 with Southampton on Saturday and he believes they will now travel to Manchester on a high.

Jones scored Stoke's first goal on Saturday before Matthew Upson and Cameron Jerome helped Pulis' side claim an unlikely point, which extended the Potters' unbeaten run to nine matches.

"We had a few slip-ups, but credit to the team, manager and the fans for the run we have been on," said Jones.

"The next game is the most important game for us because we're going to the home of the champions. We're going to prepare again, try and be solid, and see what happens.

"Everyone knows what Stoke City is about and they have seen it time and time again for however long.

"Why would we feel sorry for ourselves? We've never done that in games, so why would we do it now?

"Here at Stoke City, we play for 90 minutes. If we get beat, we get beat, but we'll never give up.

"That comes from pride. This is our job. No-one wants to lose, so you're not just going to stand there and accept defeat."

Rory Delap and Marc Wilson remain long-term absentees for Pulis.

Read more on:    manchester city  |  epl  |  roberto mancini  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Fixtures
25 October 2014
Liverpool v Hull City, Anfield 16:00
Southampton v Stoke City, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace, The Hawthorns 16:00
Swansea City v Leicester City, Liberty Stadium 18:30
26 October 2014
Burnley v Everton, Turf Moor 15:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United, White Hart Lane 15:30
Manchester United v Chelsea, Old Trafford 18:00
27 October 2014
Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa, Loftus Road Stadium 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

How long will Mario Balotelli last at Liverpool?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.