Saturday, March 24, 2018

Chelsea still title favourites, says Mancini

SoccerNews in English Premier League 26 Sep 2010


Roberto Mancini claimed Chelsea will still win the Premier League title, despite seeing his Manchester City side hand the London club their first defeat of the season.

The defending champions, winners of their five opening league games, were defeated 1-0 at Eastlands thanks to a second half goal from City?s new captain and Argentina international forward Carlos Tevez.

The result came just 24 hours after City manager Mancini had claimed Chelsea would win the title “easily” although the result did nothing to alter the Italian?s prediction.

“Chelsea are still the best team in the Premier League and probably they will still win the title,” he said.

“It’s not possible for them to score four or five goals every game and sometimes they will have days like today. I know that.

“For us, it is important we stay focused and think of the next game. We are without a lot of important players at the moment because they are injured.

“We must continue to work hard every game and not think, because we have won this one game, that everything is okay.

“But this should help us work better and realise that if everyone works hard, anything is possible.”

The victory by English football?s wealthiest club came at the end of a frustrating week in which they had exited the League Cup at West Brom.

City have also had setbacks in the league, losing at Sunderland and dropping home points against Blackburn.

“This is football and this is why football is a fantastic sport,” said Mancini. “We deserved to win at Sunderland, we deserved to win against Blackburn but instead we lost and drew.”

The game was also a personal success for Tevez, comfortably City?s most impressive performer since the start of last season, and a player clearly reveling in his new role as captain.

“Carlos is a fantastic striker and not only because he scored the goal,” said Mancini.

“He fights every time, against big defenders, for every ball. And at this moment he is playing alone up front so it is not easy for him.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted City do have the credentials to win the title, a seemingly reasonable assessment given that City have now beaten his team three consecutive times.

“I think so,” said Ancelotti when quizzed about their title chances.

“They are growing fast and will have a chance to win the title. But I also think we have the possibility to win the title again.”

Chelsea were clearly sub-par against City, nobody more so than Didier Drogba whom Ancelotti substituted with 16 minutes still to play and his team in need of an equaliser.

“It is difficult to judge this team after just one defeat,” said Ancelotti. “I still think their mentality is good and we are doing well at the moment.

“This was an important test for us but then every game is an important test and we did well in the five others and missed this one. This was not a good performance as a team and none of the players were at their best.

“It is difficult to say why.

“I took Drogba off because I wanted more speed up front along with (Nicolas) Anelka. (Daniel) Sturridge was fresh and so we took this decision.”

Mancini and Ancelotti have now each won eight meetings in their head-to-head managerial encounters although the City man has won four of their last six.

“It is not a good place for us,” joked Ancelotti of Chelsea?s three straight losses to City. “But City is a very good team.”


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