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Friday 04 May 2012

Mancini: Newcastle is our toughest test

Man City manager says Newcastle trip will be harder than Man Utd match

Roberto Mancini wants another big performance from his Man City players at Newcastle

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says he believes their trip to Newcastle United on Sunday will prove more difficult than beating Manchester United.

City beat Man Utd 1-0 at the Etihad on Monday to move top of the Barclays Premier League table on goal difference from their city rivals.

"Newcastle's stadium is fantastic and the supporters are incredible"
- Roberto Mancini

Two wins in their remaining matches would almost certainly be good enough to win the title for City, but Mancini is expecting an even tougher afternoon at the Sports Direct Arena against in-form Newcastle.

"I don't think it was harder beating Manchester United, no - I think it will be harder beating Newcastle on Sunday," said Mancini, who watched Newcastle beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

"Against Manchester United we played here at home and we played very, very well, but at Newcastle it will be harder.

"It would be very good to win against a top team in a top stadium like Newcastle, of course. When you play against a top squad like Newcastle's in a stadium like that... the stadium is fantastic and the supporters are incredible.

"Newcastle played a fantastic game against Chelsea on Wednesday and they are fighting for a place in the Champions League, so I think it will be more difficult."

Harder matches

Mancini says his team have the same chance of winning the title as they did before beating Man Utd, but he thinks City - who then face Queens Park Rangers at home on the last day - have the harder matches.

Man Utd face Swansea City at home on Sunday, before a final-day trip to the Stadium of Light to face Martin O'Neill's Sunderland.

"We are the same as we were, it's changed nothing," added the Italian. "Also, we have the harder two games, and Sunday will be a very tough game, so it's not changed.

"Papiss Cisse is incredible, he scored two fantastic goals against Chelsea"
- Roberto Mancini

"We must do what we did last Monday against Manchester United again if we want to stay at the top.

"I am happy that we are here and that we have the chance after being eight points behind United. That's very important for us. But it's still the same; anything can happen in football, you can lose and you can win.

"Now we have a chance because the guys have worked really well and I'm proud of that. Football, it's strange. It's crazy that we have a chance at this moment."

Mancini also warned his players to beware of the extraordinary goalscoring talents of Papiss Cisse, who scored two more stunning goals for Newcastle at Chelsea in midweek.

"Papiss Cisse is incredible, he scored two fantastic goals against Chelsea," said Mancini. "But he's also scored 13 goals in 12 games, so he's obviously a very good player.

"It's not only him though; the whole Newcastle team are playing very well.

"We want to play well too. We might change one or two players, but we go into the game to win like we do usually."

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Key Points

  • Roberto Mancini says Newcastle will be a harder match than Man Utd
  • Man City are top of Barclays Premier League but only on goal difference from Man Utd
  • Two wins from two should see Man City win the title