Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expects his side to lose their key title clash with Manchester United despite seeing the team revive their quest for Premier League glory.
Mancini, who has repeatedly played down City’s hopes of being crowned champions of England for the first time in 44 years, saw his men move to within three points of United with a 2-0 win away to Wolves. Goals from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri meant City, whose win relegated Wolves, could now go top on goal difference with two matches then remaining if they beat United at Eastlands on Monday.
“We’ll talk about one team winning the title on Monday night if we beat them,” said Mancini. “I probably expect us to lose to United. Their players are used to playing under pressure every year. But we don’t have any pressure as we have no chance of winning.”
Most observers believe Mancini is merely trying to lift the pressure off City and trying to deflect it onto Sir Alex Ferguson’s men. But whether Mancini really believes what he is saying or not, he is sticking to his guns all the same.
“I’m standing by what I said. We’re still three points behind. I’m smiling because we can finish well this season.”
Dalglish laments old failings
Elsewhere, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was left with a familiar feeling after seeing his side fail to take their chances in a 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion with Peter Odemwingie scoring the only goal 15 minutes from time.
“It’s not just been one of those days; it’s been like that seven or eight times here,” said the former Scotland striker. “There’s not much else that we can add to what we’ve said before so many times after a game at Anfield. They just need a bit of luck I think. It sounds repetitive but it’s not an excuse.”
Van Persie wins Player of the Year award
Meanwhile, Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was named the Player of the Year by England’s Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).
The 28-year-old Dutch international has scored 27 Premier League goals so far this season – his best return for the north London club – and was proud to be honoured by a poll of top-flight players.
“If other people are saying it, it’s special, but it’s more special if your opponents are saying it,” said the striker.
“You’re playing against them week in week out and every player does everything to win. In the end if they make up their minds that I’m the best player it’s a big honour.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2012.