Sunday, June 23, 2024
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United still better than City: Mancini

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MANCHESTER: Manchester United are still better than neighbours City, Roberto Mancini said after his side thumped the champions 6-1 to go five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

It will take City winning a first league title since 1968 to convince the Italian otherwise even if Sunday’s thrashing of their more decorated rivals had counterpart Alex Ferguson bemoaning “the worst result in my history”.

“This is only one game,” Mancini told a news conference. “I think United is one yard above us still … we can change this only if we win (the title) in the end. After maybe it is different but now United is better than us.”

Mancini’s men inflicted a first Old Trafford defeat on their hosts for 18 months, making a mockery of the glittering home record that formed the backbone of last season’s record 19th league title.

Two goals apiece from Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko, as well as strikes from David Silva and Sergio Aguero, sent City on their way to a famous win as one of the most keenly awaited Manchester derbies in years lived up to its billing.

City have now scored a massive 33 goals in nine league games as this season’s more attacking approach has paid off.

Three of their strikers—Aguero, Dzeko and Balotelli — are among the league’s top five scorers and all owe much to the creative panache of fleet-footed Silva whose vision and distribution are at the heart of so many City chances.

Mancini was full of admiration for United’s attempts to attack despite being down to 10 men for most of the second half following Jonny Evans’ dismissal—the very approach that angered Ferguson.

“At times our full-backs were almost our wingers and we were playing almost two versus three at the back. That was suicide and crazy,” Ferguson said.

“We just kept attacking. It’s alright playing with the history books but common sense has to come in at times. With the experience we had at the back, we should have realised that and settled for what we had when it went to 4-1.”

Defeat will galvanise team: Ferguson

Ferguson was adamant the heavy defeat, which came after something of a lacklustre month following a blistering start to their title defence, would galvanise his team.

“That kind of defeat will make an impact on the players,” he said. “There’s a lot of embarrassment in the dressing room and quite rightly so. Hopefully they’ll show that (reaction) next week.”

However, the United coach described the scoreline as “the worst result in my history,” as he watched City pull five points clear at the Premier League summit after doubling the figure in United’s goals conceded column in the space of just one afternoon.

Manchester United will set out on the road to recovery in the unlikely surrounds of Aldershot Town’s modest Recreation Ground in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday.

Mancini said the thumping was unlikely to knock United’s confidence too much and emphasised that this was merely one win regardless of the number of goals.

“I think the season will be very long, probably there will be four or five teams who can win the title,” said Mancini, who led City to their first major trophy in 35 years with victory in the FA Cup last season.

Wenger sympathises as press acclaim City

Manchester United found an unlikely ally in the form of Arsene Wenger on Monday, as the Arsenal coach sought to downplay the significance of United’s 6-1 drubbing by title rivals Manchester City.

Arsenal were humiliated 8-2 by United in August but have since won six games out of seven to re-kindle their push for a Champions League place, and Wenger backed United to react in similar fashion.

“Like when we lost 8-2, the big scores have no special meaning. It only means something special happened in the game.

“When you are in a position where you have to attack with 10 men against a good side, you are vulnerable. It’s not that you lost three points, but the emotional aspect of a result like that remains in your head.” (Agencies)

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