City boss Mancini: Teams play United with fear

Roberto Mancini has added fuel to the fire ahead of Monday’s Manchester derby by stating his belief that most clubs do not play well against rivals Man United, instead playing only with fear, writes The Guardian.

The Man City manager, who earlier admitted that he would concede his side’s title to United should the Reds triumph in the Old Trafford clash, has poured scorn on their impending title win by charging other teams in the league with defeatism.

A 15-point gap currently separates the two Manchester clubs at the top of the Premier League, and a win for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men would set the standings at an 18-point difference with only 21 remaining.

“No one plays well against United because they only play with fear,” said the Italian.

“United are strong now because of their importance as a team, their importance as a club. Every team that plays against United plays very soft because they think the game is difficult, that they can’t beat them. It is not true.

“If they play strong against United, they can beat them like they can beat us. This is normal, this is football, because United have been a strong team for a long time. For the other teams they play against it is difficult.

“I’m not saying they don’t play 100% but their mentality is poor in that game. They think they can do nothing but … I don’t think that is true. If you play with a good mentality, in football you can beat every team.”

Mancini, however, rebuffs claims that his side should, as champions, have instilled a similar fear in their opposition this season, referring instead to the aura at Old Trafford.

“We are young as a team and we don’t have the same importance like United in this moment. Maybe in 10 years it will be the same. The history is very important.

“We need to improve as a team, as a club, but for this we need more years. We can’t do this in two years. For 10 years, if we improve, if we win every year, probably it will also be the same for us.”

According to BBC Sport, meanwhile, Mancini believes that a primary reason that his City side have been unable to keep up with United in this season’s title race is that the club were unsuccessful in their transfer ambitions during the two most recent transfer windows.

“We would probably be at the top… probably also in a Champions League quarter-final,” the City manager said.

“We had a chance to get three or four players that would have improved our team but now it is finished with.”

City identified the likes of Robin van Persie and Eden Hazard as potential improvements to his squad, but they decided to move to rivals United and Chelsea respectively.

Other players, such as Javi Martinez, Daniel de Rossi and Daniel Agger were also identified, but City’s pursuits of these players were also in vain.

Martinez instead opted for Bayern Munich, de Rossi remained with Rome and City refused to meet Liverpool’s reported £27m valuation of Agger.

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