Mancini takes strength from Cup defeat

PA Sport

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has revealed it was his side's 3-2 FA Cup defeat by Manchester United in January that persuaded him his side were capable of winning major honours.

City head to in-form Newcastle on Sunday defending their status as Premier League leaders with just two games of the season remaining. The Blues owe their position to Monday's victory over United at the Etihad Stadium.

But Mancini has to wind back a further three-and-a-half months for the point when he knew his side would not approach such a battle with an inferiority complex, and he said: "For playing against United, the FA Cup game in January when we lost 3-2 was really important. It wasn't the 6-1. That game was easy. But in the FA Cup, we had to play with 10 men for 80 minutes and we were also 3-0 down."

He added: "Although we lost, they didn't have a shot in the second-half, even though they had 11 players and we had a chance to score the third goal.

"It changed our mentality against them."

It is why Mancini did not feel the need to summon up any Churchillian-type speeches on Monday as his team moved to within touching distance of City's first title since 1968.

"Normally, I don't say anything special in the dressing room," he said.

"I just say that the most important thing for us is to play football.

"Against United it was easy. I didn't say anything. The players knew it was a strong game and the last chance for us."

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