Manchester United may be sitting comfortably at the summit of the Premier League table, but Roberto Mancini’s men have a taste for blood and will be hunting them as soon as mistakes are made.
Manchester City’s historic 2-0 at Arsenal yesterday, their first since 1975, kept the gab to seven points after United pip old foes Liverpool to a 2-1 win in the day’s earlier kick off.
With just over half the season to go, United’s seven-point lead is not a cause for concern as Mancini insists that time is still on their side.
“United are a really strong team,” he said. “In this moment, they play very well. But the season is long. It’s important for us to be there, close with them, and we will arrive the moment they lose points.
“We’re under pressure maybe before, but seven, eight or nine points, everything can change at the moment. We have the derby on April 6 and we need to arrive there with four or five points behind, it is okay.”
The fiery encounter at the Emirates left the Gunners fighting with ten minutes after just ten minutes – Laurent Koscielny saw red for a challenge on Edin Dzeko inside the area.
Despite the Bosnian’s penalty being saved, City took the lead midway through the first-half with a sumptuous striker from James Milner.
Dzeko made amends for his missed penalty by tapping home from close range to double City’s lead before the half – but their victory was tarnished when captain Vincent Kompany was red carded with 15 minutes to go.
His sending off is set to be appealed by the club, and Mancini is desperate to secure his centreback’s services for the next three games.
“We will appeal and I think we can win, because it’s easy, it is correct,” he said. “But we have a problem because we’re missing a lot of players. Now we are losing him for three games, but I don’t think we should.”
The skipper also defended his challenge, but remained respectful of referee Mike Dean’s decision to dismiss him.
“First. Massive congrats to our team and fans, great game! Also. No grudges against the referee, I understand the difficulty of the job,” he tweeted.
“About the tackle: If the ball is overrun by the opponent and a 50/50 challenge occurs, collision is inevitable.
“Ultimately I’m a defender: Appeal may work or not. I will never pull out of a challenge, as much as I will never intend to injury a player.”
Image courtesy of Yahoo UK, with thanks