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Title hopes fading, says Mancini

SoccerNews in English Premier League 27 Feb 2011

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Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini voiced his frustrations after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Fulham effectively ended his side’s title hopes.

Mario Balotelli gave City the lead in the 26th minute before Damian Duff secured a deserved point for the Cottagers with an equaliser just after the interval.

City are now 10 points behind arch rivals and Premier League leaders Manchester United, and when asked if Sunday’s result put his side out of title contention, Mancini told Sky Sports: “Now for us it is difficult in this moment I think.”

Speaking of the stalemate against Mark Hughes’ side, the Italian manager said: “The performance was so, so. I think that we didn’t play well but in the first half we scored one goal.”

“It is normal but when you score one goal, you finish the first half one-nil and you should start better the second half but it is possible that when you play every day – and at this moment we have a lot of players injured – we have some problems.”

The final whistle was followed by some drama between the two managers, as Mancini failed to lean into his handshake or make eye contact with Hughes, which caught the ire of the Fulham boss.

Mancini, despite seemingly being the protagonist, said it was not the first time he met with an angry Hughes.

“Always I think, I don’t know. He seemed (angry in) the first game in London but I don’t know,” Mancini said.

Hughes said he was disappointed with Mancini’s behaviour.

“Well I was a little bit disappointed at the end,” he said.

“Listen, I was disappointed with the performance of my team when we last played Man City, we lost 4-1, but I acknowledged that Man City on the day were the better team and I acknowledged that with my handshake and I just felt maybe Man City’s manager just didn’t really offer his hand with any sincerity so that’s why I reacted a little bit. So I apologise if I upset anybody.”

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