Ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s match with Chelsea, here is a round of up all of the talk from both City and Chelsea. In what feels like a must win game for City Roberto Mancini and Sergio Aguero preview the match. For Chelsea, Rafa Benitez and Demba Ba are optimistic about their chances of victory.
At the Friday pre-match press conference, Mancini faced questions regarding his future as City boss. Here is what he said:
I cannot continue to answer about this every week. We’ve another two months. You’ll know then but I can’t continue with this. Why would Manchester City change their manager? For what reasons?
I don’t need to talk to them [my bosses] about this. I renewed my contract last summer and did five years as we wanted to build strong team. I don’t need to talk about this. Yes [Ferran Soriano has come in as CEO since then], but this doesn’t change it. Me, Soriano and Txiki [Begiristain, director of football] work for the same thing and have our positions.
I think at every club stability is important – if you change every one or two years it’s difficult. If I didn’t want to be here I would say. If I didn’t win [a trophy] for two years it would be impossible for me to stay here.
I don’t think I can stay here [for 10 years], it’s impossible for me. It’s difficult to stay 10 years in the same club. It’s impossible in two years to be like Man United – they built a team in 25, 30 years. It’s impossible to build a team like United, Barca. It takes seven, eight years.
The boost of winning well against Leeds and getting the Southampton defeat out of our system was just what we needed. The chances of ending this championship in the best possible fashion have only improved, but we know what we are capable of and have done for a long time. This is a team that always goes for the win in every game.
Chelsea are a great team. They’ve won the Champions League for a reason and even if they were eliminated from that tournament and haven’t had as good as season as they might have expected in the League, they are still a great team with many fantastic players – but so are we. But we are even stronger at Etihad so while I hope it’s a good match, it goes without saying I hope it goes our way.
I’m very happy at City and I feel appreciated and loved here which means a lot to me. It’s been barely more than a year and a half since I’ve arrived and sometimes I feel like I’ve been here for all my life.
How could I forget that? More to the point, why would I want to forget that?
We have played around nine games a month, so we have played more games than anyone in Europe. But we knew that before the game [against Sparta] so I rested some players so hopefully the players we use will be fine and we can keep the energy.
When you play two games a week in two different competitions and you rest a few players and you win they will say ‘Fantastic rotation’ but if you lose they say ‘Why are you resting these players’. We will change some of them against City, that is very clear because we have to do it and that is the way if you are a top side. Because the club is successful that is part of the price you have to pay and we are really pleased to be paying this price.
We have a lot of respect because City is a great team. But we have to go there with confidence and if we are close I think that we can fight for being in the top two, and if not we have to fight for being in the top four. The priority is to win; if we win this game we will be closer but if we cannot we have to keep fighting. What I can see now is a team with confidence, we are confident we can beat City or anyone if we do things in the right way. We are creating chances in every game so I’m confident we can do it.
The race for the top four will go on until the end of the season. Our last game is against Everton so I’m sure that, until the end of the season, we will be winning games or losing games or whatever but it will be very tight, very close. I think that one game can make a big difference so until the end it will be difficult for everyone.
The gap is very big between United and City, and we have in our head if we win we can get very close to them. We know this is not the best time for Man City at the moment and we’re going to try and take advantage of that.
It is going to be difficult to catch Manchester United because they are so many points clear from City. I don’t see them losing that many points but we’re just going to try and win the maximum possible and see where we will be at the end of the season. We can put pressure on City and if you beat big clubs you take more confidence so this is the objective.