Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Mancini plays down title talk

Roberto Mancini

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini does not accept his side have become clear title favourites despite Sunday's emphatic and potentially earth-shifting thrashing of Manchester United.

City made a bold statement to their title rivals as they stormed Old Trafford to claim a 6-1 win and move five points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League. The result could prove another notable landmark in star-studded City's seemingly unstoppable march towards domestic dominance, but Mancini wants to play down expectations.

"I think there are four or five teams that can win the title in the end," said Mancini.

"The season is too long, it is very difficult every game, every three days we play.

"I think against Tottenham we played very well, and against Bolton, but this is different - we played against a strong team like United. But in the end there are three points - finished. We don't take six points for this game."

The champions made the better of the early running but City held firm and went ahead against the run of play through the irrepressible - on and off the field - Mario Balotelli.

The controversial striker, in the headlines again after a fire at his home started by a firework, placed a low shot beyond David de Gea and then revealed a T-shirt message which read, 'Why Always Me?'.

Balotelli then won the foul which saw Jonny Evans sent off before adding a second goal to put City in sight of only their second win at Old Trafford since 1974. Sergio Aguero grabbed the third before Darren Fletcher pulled one back, but City ran amok in the closing minutes to condemn United to their heaviest home defeat since 1955.

Edin Dzeko got on the scoresheet twice and David Silva was also on target as City recorded their best derby win for 85 years. Despite the emphatic nature of the victory, Mancini insisted United were still the superior side.

He said: "This is only one game. I still think United are one yard above us, still. I think we can only change this after we win the title in the end. After, maybe it will be different, but now United are better than us."

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