City head into their opening game against newly-promoted Swansea on Monday carrying the pressure of expectation at being championship contenders.
Yet Mancini is being forced to operate at least two men short of what he hoped, with any talks over Samir Nasri's expected move from Arsenal too late to give the Frenchman a chance of being involved.
In addition, record signing Sergio Aguero is operating at some way short of full fitness, whilst controversial skipper Carlos Tevez only came back to training on Monday.
"If we complete our squad, we can fight for the title this year," said Mancini.
"But that is a problem at the moment because we play our first match in three days."
Mancini's obvious worry is that in the three games City will play before the transfer window closes, the possibility of dropping precious points is obvious.
During the same period last season, the Blues drew at Tottenham and lost at Sunderland, which left them with ground to make up in the battle to secure a top-four slot.
With the biggest prize this season's aim, City could be scuppered before they have emerged from the starting gate.
"It is not important whether you are the richest club or not," said Mancini as he assessed why the club regarded as the richest in the world due to Sheikh Mansour's enormous wealth should be unable to just go out and get the players they want.
"The market is difficult. I understand that.
"But when you have your targets, it is important to go very hard.
"It was important to have these players for pre-season because it is there that you prepare for the season. At the moment, we don't have these players.
"I asked and I hope we can have them this week.
"But last year it was the same. In the first three games we lost against Sunderland and drew at Tottenham. That is why it is important to have them before."
The difficulty in landing Nasri cannot be blamed entirely on the Blues hierarchy as Arsene Wenger seems to be adopting a policy of total ignorance towards the transfer.
It does appear the deal will go through in a matter of days though, possibly as soon as this weekend, although the fact Mancini has been left hoping Tevez remains where he is says something about City's present predicament given the unsettling nature of the South American's summer statements.
"It is two weeks until the end of the market," said Mancini. "I think it is difficult for him to leave.
"I don't know if he will stay but at the moment, there isn't a team who want to take him.
"I would be happy if he stays."