Belfast Telegraph

Mancini wants new faces in ASAP

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is adamant his squad can challenge for the Premier League title - once he has put it together.

City head into their opening game against newly-promoted Swansea on Monday carrying the pressure of expectation at being championship contenders. Yet Mancini is being forced to operate at least two men short of what he hoped, with any talks over Samir Nasri's expected move from Arsenal too late to give the Frenchman a chance of being involved.

In addition, record signing Sergio Aguero is operating at some way short of full fitness, whilst controversial skipper Carlos Tevez only came back to training on Monday. Mancini said: "If we complete our squad, we can fight for the title this year."

He added: "But that is a problem at the moment because we play our first match in three days."

Mancini's obvious worry is that in the three games City will play before the transfer window closes, the possibility of dropping precious points is obvious.

During the same period last season, the Blues drew at Tottenham and lost at Sunderland, which left them with ground to make up in the battle to secure a top-four slot.

With the biggest prize this season's aim, City could be scuppered before they have emerged from the starting gate.

"It is not important whether you are the richest club or not," said Mancini as he assessed why the club regarded as the richest in the world due to Sheikh Mansour's enormous wealth should be unable to just go out and get the players they want.

"The market is difficult. I understand that. But when you have your targets, it is important to go very hard.

"It was important to have these players for pre-season because it is there that you prepare for the season. At the moment, we don't have these players. I asked and I hope we can have them this week."


From Belfast Telegraph