Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said he hoped rivals United go all the way in the Champions League as it would boost the Blues’ Premier League hopes.
City head into their trip to Southampton today nine points behind Alex Ferguson’s side, who host Everton tomorrow, amid doubts that they will be able to pull back the deficit and retain the title they won last year, with 13 games to play.
But despite two draws in their last two outings, Mancini refused to write off his team’s chances and believes a Champions League run for United – which starts on Wednesday with a last 16 first leg at Real Madrid – can help City in the league.
“If Manchester United draw or suffer defeat, the title race is re-opened,” hoped Mancini. “It is clear we need to do better than in the last two games. It is normal when you play in the Champions League against Real Madrid that you can lose your strength in this game.
“We support Manchester United to go through in the Champions League. At the end of the day, if United win all the games from now to the end in the Premier League they deserve to win. This is football. But I am sure we have another chance.”
Benitez hopes Lampard can fire Chelsea
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez hopes in-form Frank Lampard can cap a week to remember by easing the pressure on the spluttering Blues when Wigan visit Stamford Bridge today.
With no win in four games, Benitez could do with another influential display from Lampard, who came off the bench to score the winner in England’s midweek friendly victory over Brazil at Wembley.
“He’s scoring goals for us already and I think he’s doing well,” Benitez told Chelsea TV. “Ninety-four caps is a fantastic achievement. If he can get 100 it will be really positive and it will mean he will be fit, he will be playing and he will be doing well.”
Wilshere gunning for club glory after England win
Jack Wilshere has insisted there is more to come after the Arsenal midfielder showed signs he is back to his best in England’s midweek international friendly win over Brazil.
The 21-year-old midfielder will look to help Arsenal take all three points away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light today, as the visitors try to reclaim a place in the top four of the Premier League.
“I feel my form is getting better and better,” he said.
“I am never happy with where I am. I always try to improve and work hard in training.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2013.
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