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19 April 2024

Mancini urges Manchester City to keep fighting

Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini gestures to his players during the Premiership match against Reading at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, England on December 22, 2012. (AFP)


Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has told his side "everything is possible" as they try to overhaul leaders Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table.

Reigning champions City, currently second, could be 15 points adrift of their cross-city rivals by the time they kick-off at Aston Villa on Monday if United beat Norwich on Saturday.

But with 11 league matches left, Mancini said now was not the time to give up on the title.

"I think the season is mathematical," the Italian said Friday. "I was not strong in mathematics in school. Eleven games to play, 33 points, everything is possible. Last time we won the title: six games to go, eight points (behind).

"Every game will be like this. If we don't win and they continue to win, always. We talked about this last week. When you are 12 points behind it is normal that if you don't lose or don't win and Man United win the next game it will be difficult.

"We should try to win always. It doesn't change our ways."

Meanwhile Mancini is hopeful Vincent Kompany has finally recovered from his calf injury.

Kompany, 26, has been absent since limping off in the 1-0 FA Cup victory over Stoke on January 26.

The Belgian defender has been hampered by the problem in recent months but Mancini is confident City have finally got to the bottom of the injury.

He expects Monday's game against Villa to come too soon for the centre-back's return but he could be back against Barnsley in the FA Cup on March 9.

"Vinny is getting better in this moment," Mancini said. "We hope we can recover him for the next game.

"We try for Aston Villa for Monday but it is difficult because he did not train with the team, he trained with the physio. We hope for the FA Cup.

"The calf is a difficult injury because you think you are ok and then you have a problem. The calf is a strange injury."

Mancini will definitely have Gareth Barry available again on Monday following an ankle problem that has kept him out for the last two matches.

"I think he will be OK for Monday," the manager said. "He trained with the team the last two days and I think he will be ready."

Mancini, who has faced constant questions about his own position this season, is adamant no decisions have been made about potential changes to his squad come the end of the season.

He sold Mario Balotelli to AC Milan in January and the likes of Edin Dzeko, Joleon Lescott, Kolo Toure and Aleksander Kolarov have all been linked with moves away from Eastlands.

But Mancini insisted nothing was certain for any of his players.

"It's all speculation because in this moment we didn't decide nothing.

"Like in every team there will be some players that leave the club, some players will arrive, but we don't know how many players and which players."

Jack Rodwell joined from Everton in a £12 million ($18 million) deal before the start of this season but the England midfielder's City career has been hampered by a hamstring problem.

The 2-0 win over Chelsea was just his third Premier League start for City but Mancini is expecting big things from the versatile 21-year-old.

"I am happy for Jack because he is a good guy and he deserves to play a good game," Mancini said.

"He had a lot of injuries and big problems and for this reason he did not play a long time. He played only for 60 minutes but he played well. We bought him last summer because he is young and we think he can improve a lot."