Man City over the moon about being second, says Mancini
MANCHESTER, April 14 — Manchester City’s expensively assembled squad came back down to earth with a bump yesterday after manager Roberto Mancini said they should be happy finishing second to Manchester United because they are “not on the moon”.
City cut United’s Premier League lead to five points with five games left in midweek after the champions lost 1-0 at lowly Wigan Athletic and Mancini’s side thumped West Bromwich Albion 4-0.
Afterwards the Italian ruled his side out of the title running despite their success, and has not changed his mind in the days since.
“We are normal, we are not on the moon,” he said at a news conference before today’s trip to in-form Norwich City (1145 GMT). “Like all normal people we make mistakes. They (United) are fantastic, they have won everything, but we are here.
“I think we should be proud of our job at this moment as this is the best season since 1968 when Manchester City won the championship.”
City could reduce United’s advantage to two points with victory given Alex Ferguson’s under-pressure team do not host Aston Villa until tomorrow (1500).
Controversial striker Mario Balotelli is never far from the headlines, and misses the Norwich game as he is still suspended for being sent off against Arsenal last weekend.
Mancini has a strained relationship with his 21-year-old compatriot but he is not definitely up for sale.
“I’m happy if he wants to stay but if he wants to stay he should change his mind (behaviour),” the manager said.
With Balotelli out, Carlos Tevez could play again, having faced West Brom in his first start since refusing to warm up as a substitute during a Champions League game in September. The Argentine striker ended up an outcast before a recent apology.
Midfield dynamo Yaya Toure, whose driving runs are sorely missed by City when he is not playing, could return from injury at Carrow Road.
“Yaya is getting better, we will decide tomorrow for Yaya,” Mancini said. — Reuters