The Real Footie Analyst

Mancini: We can change City history

Roberto Mancini has called on his Manchester City players to dismiss the blow of losing Carlos Tevez from Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final and “change the history” of the club. As expected, Tevez will miss the Wembley clash with Manchester United due to the hamstring injury he suffered at Liverpool on Monday.

Mancini believes it could be a month before the South American is fully recovered, although that should at least mean he will figure in the last couple of games in City’s attempt to reach next season’s UEFA Champions League, in addition to the FA Cup final should they make it.

Yet the Blues manager views this as a minor inconvenience compared to the overall picture, in which a club that has won nothing in 35 years and suffered the humiliation of being relegated to English football’s third tier in 1998 bids to complete their ascent to the highest echelons of the game.

“All my players should understand very well this is a big moment for us,” said Mancini. “We can change the history of the club. The first trophy is the hardest, but it is time for Manchester City to win something.”

It is exactly the kind of rousing speech City’s fans need right now. Living in the shadow of the men from Old Trafford, with Sheikh Mansour’s enormous investment from Abu Dhabi, there had been a growing feeling this was their time.

Yet the optimism was punctured in the space of 24 hours earlier this week when City suffered a three-goal hammering at Liverpool, during which Tevez limped off, followed one day later by United cruising past Chelsea to book a fourth Champions League semi-final appearance in five seasons.

“When you build a new team you can always lose matches, like we did against Liverpool,” said Mancini. “It is the first time in a year that we played like that. And it was better to happen at Liverpool than on Saturday.

“I know we have improved a lot. The important thing is that we don’t go there and think about the enormity of the game. We cannot afford for our heads to get full with the occasion.”

Mancini backs Balotelli

Potentially this advice applies most to Mario Balotelli. So much has been said about the temperamental Italian during his debut season in England, yet it was the 20-year-old himself who said in December that brilliant Barcelona playmaker Lionel Messi is the only player on the planet better than him.

“I trust Mario [Balotelli],” insisted Mancini, who substituted him at Anfield this week even though he had been the man who replaced Tevez just over an hour earlier. “He knows it is an important game for him. If his focus is on the game, he can do everything.”

Mancini does have options, with Edin Dzeko in contention on the basis he scored twice for Wolfsburg against United in last season’s Champions League even though he has yet to score in the Premier League since his £27 million arrival from Germany.

City also have Micah Richards back from a hamstring injury well ahead of schedule, which should at least bring some solidity to a defence that looked bereft on Merseyside. Given James Milner’s reaction to being substituted that night, it did seem all was not well in the Blues camp. However, Mancini insists it was exactly the attitude he wants from his players.

“I like it when a player is not happy when he comes off,” Mancini said. “It doesn’t mean he has no respect for the manager. It is no problem. James is a good guy.

“At this moment, we should be happy. When we started the season our target was to reach the Champions League and try to win a trophy. We are one month away from the end of the season and we are in a good way. Now it depends on us.”

(FIFA.com)

2 Comments

  1. British says:

    The injury suffered by Tevez is a major blow for City. Balotelli is a good striker but United do have a slight edge against their rivals and they should get at least a draw here. I expect both teams to score at least once in this game.

  2. Jarred Manasse says:

    Hi British

    I have to agree with you, without Tevez, City’s strikeforce lack that “English Experience” if you could call it that.

    Cheers
    Jarred

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