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Title race alive, insists Mancini

Roberto Mancini believes that Manchester City can still retain the Premier League title following Sunday’s 2-0 win over Chelsea.

Roberto Mancini believes that Manchester City can still retain the Premier League title following Sunday’s 2-0 win over Chelsea.

Goals from Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez saw the defending champions seal victory at Etihad Stadium and close the gap between themselves and Manchester United to 12 points.

Only 11 games remain in the Premier League schedule but the Italian manager insists that it is not in his team’s nature to give up on the title race.

“We can’t think it’s finished with 11 games to go, it’s not my mentality or the mentality of the players,” Mancini told Sky Sports.

Joe Hart responded to his manager’s recent criticisms by denying Frank Lampard from the penalty spot after bringing down Demba Ba with the score poised at 0-0.

Mancini praised Hart for the save and backed him as the best goalkeeper in England but insists he can continue to improve.

“If they score the penalty, we still had a chance to win because we had another 40 minutes,” he continued.

“I think Joe is the best in England and one of the best in Europe and I am pleased for him because he saved a penalty.

“But he could do better before with the long ball; he could be perfect if he wants to.”

Chelsea counterpart Rafa Benitez believes Hart could have been sent off for the foul that led to the Chelsea penalty in the second half.

The England goalkeeper was deemed to have fouled Ba in the 18-yard box but avoided a caution from referee Andre Mariner.

The Chelsea manager lamented the missed spot-kick while insisting Hart should have seen a card.

Benitez told talkSPORT: “The penalty was a key incident because it could have been a red card and should at least have been a yellow card and obviously if you score the penalty everything changes.

On his team’s performance, Benitez noted a number of shortcomings.

“I would say that in the first half we didn’t do well,” he said.

“We were giving the ball away. We had problems in possession and we were not winning second balls but, in the second half we started much better.”

Sun 24 February, 2013
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