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Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says six appeal for Premier League title

09 Jan 2010 13:42:51

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says six appeal for Premier League title

Roberto Mancini believes up to six clubs are capable of lifting the Premier League trophy this year.   Only three clubs - Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal - havemanaged it since 1995 and only the first two were tipped to achieveglory this term. The joy of six: Roberto Mancini says half a dozen teams can win the Premier League title  MANCHESTER CITY FC: All the latest news from across the webBREAKING NEWS: Togo pull out of Africa Cup of Nations after terrorist bus attack in AngolaJANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW 2010: All moves at every Premier League clubBut in a season of shocks, predictions have been thrown out of the window and Mancini's Manchester City side take on Blackburn at Eastlands on Monday knowing a place in the top four could blow open the entire title race.   Certainly Mancini views the English championship as being far more open than Italy, where he was in charge of Inter Milan for the first three of what look certain to become five straight Serie A triumphs this term.  'There are five or six clubs that can win the Premier League,' said Mancini.   'It is more competitive because there are many top players in England. And, of course, Manchester City are a top club.'    So much has happened at Eastlands recently, and so diversionary hasbeen the icy weather that has enveloped the region that it seems farlonger than three weeks since Mancini was confirmed as Mark Hughes'successor.   Although Mancini has brought an admirable sense of stability to aclub that appeared on the brink of chaos when Hughes was sacked, it wasperhaps no surprise that he should turn to Patrick Vieira, someone heknows so well having worked together for two years at Inter, as hisfirst signing.   French correction: France midfielder Patrick Vieira can help Mancini 'Patrick can help me,' admitted Mancini. 'He knows me and my methods. His mentality is most important for the team.  'We needed a tall player like him in midfield. He can also score goals with his head, so it is really good to have him.'  And, as Mancini joked, Vieira also speaks better English than his manager, which may be an advantage at certain times when a different voice is required in the dressing room.   Not that Vieira is being lined up as skipper.   Despite initial reservations, Kolo Toure seems set to keep that job, although the central defender - and Vieira's former Arsenal team-mate - is currently away at the African Nations Cup.   'I don't think he will be captain,' said Mancini. 'We have many important players. Patrick is another one.   'It is more use for us that he plays well. He can improve our performance in all the games.'   A calf injury picked up in his final game for Inter makes Vieira a doubt for the Blackburn game.   However, it will only be a brief delay as, rather than being a peripheral figure as some suggested, Mancini clearly views Vieira as being an integral member of his new-look City side.  'I see him as a regular player in the side,' said Mancini. 'Patrick won a lot of trophies with Arsenal, Juventus and Inter.   'He must continue that at City because that attitude needs to go through to the other players here.'   City officials are optimistic that extensive efforts to clear roads and access routes to Eastlands will prove successful on Monday after the impossibility of trying to do the same job for the Carling Cup semi-final with Manchester United last week.   Shaun Wright-Phillips is hopeful of recovering from an ankle injury in time to feature against Sam Allardyce's men, while Carlos Tevez, Craig Bellamy and Gareth Barry should all start after beginning last weekend's FA Cup defeat of Middlesbrough on the bench.  MANCHESTER CITY FC: All the latest news from across the webBREAKING NEWS: Togo pull out of Africa Cup of Nations after terrorist bus attack in AngolaJANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW 2010: All moves at every Premier League club


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