Friday 06 January 2012
Roberto Mancini believes Manchester United will bounce back from their festive season blip and push Manchester City all the way for the Barclays Premier League title.
City have opened up a three-point lead at the top of the table following United's 3-0 defeat by Newcastle on Wednesday, their second successive loss after a shock 3-2 reverse against bottom club Blackburn at Old Trafford last Saturday.
The two teams will meet in Sunday's tantalising third-round FA Cup tie at the Etihad Stadium, their second meeting of the season following City's incredible 6-1 victory at Old Trafford in October.
"United has one very positive thing - their mentality is strong"
- Roberto Mancini
However, City boss Mancini, who will be without Yaya and Kolo Toure as well as Mario Balotelli for Sunday's derby, praised the mental strength of Sir Alex Ferguson's side and their ability to return to winning ways.
"After two defeats, maybe another one would be a problem," said the Italian.
"But I still think they are very strong. Ferguson has won so many trophies but there are some periods when you have difficult times, when players are injured.
"At the moment it is very hard and in football, there are some situations that are very strange.
"But United has one very positive thing - their mentality is strong. After one or two defeats, it is like it didn't happen. They start to play strongly again.
"Like after they lost to us, they won eight games out of nine. For this reason they are always very dangerous."