Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mancini out to maintain momentum

Manager Roberto Mancini said he believes Manchester City can finish higher than fourth place on the table after his side’s 1-0 win over Blackburn.

January Bosnian signing Edin Dzeko opened his English Premier League account with an effort in the latter stages of the second half to send his side four points clear of Tottenham in fourth place, edging City closer to securing a Champions League berth next term.

But the Italian boss hinted he might not be content with fourth place, as he eyed off passing rivals Chelsea (second) and Arsenal (third) in their remaining five matches despite trailing the two London sides by eight and five points respectively.

“If Chelsea lose all their games and we win we can arrive in second position. But I think that it is very difficult,” Mancini told Sky Sports.

“Now, after this game (against Blackburn), I think that we should think about Sunday’s game against West Ham because it will be very, very hard like this evening.”

Mancini said he felt the 1-0 result flattered the hosts at Ewood Park.

“I think that in the first half we played a fantastic game,” he said.

“We should have scored two goals – minimum. But in this period I think that all the games are very difficult.”

“In the second half the game changed because Blackburn played very hard and we fought with them for every ball.”

Blackburn manager Steve Kean lambasted the refereeing in the loss, saying his side could have been awarded two penalties and that Dzeko’s goal should have been disallowed for offside.

“There was contact (for the first-half penalty appeal), Jason (Roberts) was saying he wanted to go through and finish,” Kean said.

“We also thought we had a late (penalty) shout with Niko Kalinic.”

“On the goal, (Mario) Balotelli was right in front of Paul Robinson so I’m saying that was offside.”

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