Cape Town - Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes the club is still the strongest team in the Premier League and is surprised that they are struggling under Pep Guardiola.
Mancini was at the helm when City won their first Premier League title in 2012 while he also guided the club to FA Cup success in 2011 but was sacked in 2013.
The Citizens are currently third on the league table, 12 points behind of leaders Chelsea, and were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage by Monaco.
Mancini feels City should have have mounted a more serious title challenge and says Guardiola is now seeing the difference of English football compared to the other top leagues in Europe.
The Italian told the Sunday Post: "I was lucky enough to experience an exceptional period with City. We won so much and played great football.
"Now they have Guardiola, who I consider a good coach. But they are struggling a little and there is a reason.
"In Spain, as coach of Barcelona, he had [Lionel] Messi, [Andres] Iniesta and a phenomenal team. Plus La Liga is always a two-horse race with Real Madrid, the only rival.
"Then he went to Germany, where Bayern Munich always wins and therefore he did not have a difficult life.
"But, in England, it is a different story because you can have as many as six Premier League clubs who can vie for the title and now there are the problems.
"Still I am a little surprised because I think that from 2012, Manchester City is the strongest."