Mancini not concerned by standings
Published 25/02/2013 | 06:31
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini told his players to ignore the table after beating Chelsea to keep their faint Barclays Premier League title hopes alive.
City took advantage of a rare missed penalty from Frank Lampard to claim a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium and reduce Manchester United's lead at the top to 12 points. Superb goals from Yaya Toure and substitute Carlos Tevez in the last half-hour also strengthened City's grip on second place ahead of the third-placed Londoners.
Mancini said: "I think for us now it is not important to look at the table. Only to continue to work like today, to play well, to improve and to look at the table in one month, 40 days."
He went on: "In football, it is finished when it is finished, the last minute of the last game. If we arrive at four games to go with United 12 points ahead, it is finished but I think our job is to continue to work."
Having been outplayed for the first half, Chelsea could have gone ahead in the 51st minute after Joe Hart brought down Demba Ba. Lampard had scored his previous 10 spot-kicks but Hart redeemed himself to save superbly and deny his England colleague his 200th Chelsea goal.
Mancini, who criticised Hart this week in light of recent mistakes, said: "I say to him everything when he did a fault. I think we can't concede a penalty like this with a kick (long ball) from 45 metres - he and Kolo (Toure) both did a mistake.
"But after, it was fantastic. I think it was important. Maybe the game could have changed, but also if they scored, we would have had another 40 minutes. We were playing really well and we could have a chance to score other goals."
Chelsea's loss saw the pressure increase on interim manager Rafael Benitez, who was once again the target for abuse from supporters. The Blues now trail City by seven points and Benitez accepted it was a damaging result.
He said: "Always when you lose, you have to be disappointed. This game was important for us, so I am more disappointed. We could have been closer (to City). We have to carry on to try to win our games and fight for the top four.
"I haven't seen the replay (of the penalty), but at least yellow card. You can argue he is going in this direction but it is still a clear chance. I think it was a turning point. We didn't do well in the first half but we went to half-time at 0-0. We were talking about keeping the ball, doing better and showing more character. Then we had the penalty. It was a crucial moment in the game."