Gap between Manchester United and Manchester City is shortening according to Mancini – just not by points

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini feels his side are edging ever close to UnitedManchester City manger Roberto Mancini took plenty of positives from his side’s defeat in the Manchester Derby on the weekend. In the highly anticipated contest, it required a Wayne Rooney wonder goal to seal a vital 2-1 win for United at Old Trafford.

Consequently, the defeat leaves Manchester City eight points behind their neighbours and it seems that they will have to wait another season to fulfil their Premier League title aspirations. However, Mancini believes that the fact it took one piece of brilliance from Rooney to secure the win for the hosts emphasises how near Manchester City are to matching United’s standards. Following the game the Italian said, ‘We are very close to United, very close.’ using two of his fingers narrowly apart he continued, ‘But United are this much ahead of us and other teams. Just by this much. It’s very close.’

However, when you consider the amount of spending Manchester City have done in the last few years then the gap between them and their neighbours should be ‘very close.’ In the past three seasons, the club have spent close to an astonishing £400 million on bringing in players including Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Robinho and Edin Dzeko. With such money at their disposal, they are able to bring in high calibre players which should lead to success.

However, spending big doesn’t automatically win you titles; you need the right man in charge. With Mancini at the helm, the club are heading in the right direction but the Italian concedes that his side have yet to claim the winning mentality which has given United that ‘never say die attitude.’

“We should improve. I have been saying this for six months but, if we come here and play like this against United, then we will be okay. I am very proud of my players and I have told them this. I think we have the right character.

“After we equalised, I thought we could go on and win. United didn’t play well in the second-half but Rooney’s goal changed the game. This is the mentality that comes when you have been winning things for a long time. We can change this though, because we have changed a lot and improved a lot as a team. I think we need to win one cup or one title because, if we do, then we can change the whole mentality of the team.”

While winning the Premier League this season looks highly unlikely, it is paramount that City qualify for the Champions League. By doing so they reach another level and by building on that foundation, they are more than capable of reaching the heights that the Red side of Manchester has enjoyed for so many years.

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