Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admits that his side lacks the winning spirit of Manchester United and he believes that this key ingredient will decide the title in favor of the defending champions once again.
United dealt clinically with Chelsea’s stiff title challenge towards the end of last season but City were quietly working on their own credentials during that time.
After defeating the Red Devils 1-0 in a toughly contested FA Cup semifinal clash at Wembley, Mancini’s men went on to lift the trophy before finishing the season strongly in third place.
This season, dethroning United was their primary goal and the Citizens did well to follow up on it after thrashing United 6-1 at Old Trafford early in the title race.
The Eastlands outfit managed to firmly hold on to their advantage in the title race until the last few weeks, where United’s winning spirit resurfaced and City’s inexperience as a contender led to a complete turn-around.
It is now Sir Alex Ferguson’s men who hold a five-point advantage in the title race and although the April 30 rematch between the two sides at Etihad Stadium is poised to cause some apprehension in the red half of Manchester, Mancini does not buy into that theory.
Despite knowing that even one more United draw can return City’s title destiny into their own hands, the Italian is fully aware of the Devils’ clutch factor.
“United is a fantastic team, and I don’t think they can lose five points,” Mancini told reporters yesterday.
He added: “Always I will fight, every day. Also my team – but now I think it’s too late. United have a fantastic spirit – we don’t have the same spirit. For this reason, it’s very difficult.”
The City boss then quickly shifted focus to the progress of his own side and asserted that tipping the club’s greatest rival for success is not any new mind game.
“For us, it’s important we finish this season well. For us, it has been the best season since 1968. For us, that’s important. It’s not mind games,” he emphasized.