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Mancini: European competitions may work in City's favour

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01 Dec 2010 09:18:24

| Submit Comments| Comments (62)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapRoberto Mancini in training on TuesdayRoberto Mancini believes Manchester City?s title rivals could be tripped up by their pursuit of the Champions League. And the Blues boss is urging his players to make sure that, as winter bites deep, they are in a position to capitalise on any stumbling New Year form. Mancini will again ring changes as the Blues host Salzburg in their penultimate Europa League group game, knowing a win would put them on the brink of qualification. Indeed, a win tonight, and a failure by Juventus to win at Lech Poznan, would be enough. But Mancini feels a hectic December programme is vital if the Blues want to apply the pressure on the top three ? United, Chelsea and Arsenal ? and fend off a surging                 Tottenham. And he feels that being in the lesser of the two European club competitions could work in City?s favour, if they qualify and get a fortunate draw in the knockout stages. ?If we reach February and are near the top, we can see what we must do,? he said. ?The Champions League is difficult because you must play every game with a strong team. In the Europa League, if you are lucky, in February or March you can get games that are not so difficult and can then go forward in the Premier League. ?After that you will be near the final and must do what you can to arrive in it. ?February is important because Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Spurs are in the Champions League. ?But this month will also be very important for us. We have difficult games but after this month we can understand what we need to do for the future. We play every few days against strong difficult teams. ?The problem is that we can?t play with the same first XI in the Europa League as in the  Premier League. ?It is impossible but we have a good squad and if we get to the second stage we will play two games in February, so we have time to concentrate on the Premier League for two months and then think about Europe again. Mancini made it plain that his own targets for the season are to finish in the top four and win a trophy ? and he hinted that the Blues will be going all out to win the FA Cup. After playing weakened teams in the Europa League, he indicated that he may be able to dedicate more playing resources to the FA Cup. ?The FA Cup is different because we play on Saturday,? he said. ?The Europa League is tough because we play on a Wednesday or Thursday, and it makes it difficult to recover at the weekend. ?We can play in three competitions, but we want to win the FA Cup and Europa League if possible. ?For me this season is about winning a trophy and arriving in the Champions League.? Do City have an advantage over their rivals who play in the Champions League? Have your say.| Submit Comments| Comments (62)| Printable VersionAdd A CommentEnter your comments:Sending


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