Saturday 16 December 2017

One trophy will lead to more - Mancini

Roberto Mancini. Photo: PA
Roberto Mancini. Photo: PA

Roberto Mancini has reiterated his desire to end 35 years of hurt and deliver a trophy to Manchester City.

The Italian manager believes if they can succeed this season it will have a snowball effect.

City face Aston Villa tomorrow in the FA Cup then Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie next week in Ukraine.

Mancini is fully aware of the history of the club and the fact they last won a major trophy on February 28, 1976 when Newcastle were defeated 2-1 in the League Cup final.

He said: "We have a big chance of winning something. The next 20 days are very important because we play tomorrow against Aston Villa then the following week in the Europa League.

"We have two options. If we win one trophy it will lead to more trophies. This is important for our team.

"When I accepted this job I knew it was difficult but it is a big challenge and I believe we can win a trophy."

City go into the the Villa game following a lacklustre 1-1 home draw with Fulham on Sunday.

Mancini believes his players are feeling the effects of a tough fixture schedule at home and abroad.

However, he would not have it any other way.

He said: "It is better we have all these games because it means we are still involved in every competition. Everything is important for us.

"But our problem is having players injured. When you play every three days you cannot work, only recover with perhaps a light session.

"Is it difficult motivating the players? We are tired here (in our heads) because when you play every three days and use the same players it is very difficult. This is a big problem but only this."

David Silva and Micah Richards could return to the side. Silva missed the draw with Fulham because of an ankle injury while Richards was absent with a calf problem.

However, Mancini will again be without Vincent Kompany (hip), Nigel de Jong (ankle), Adam Johnson (ankle) and goalkeeper Shay Given (shoulder).

Mancini believes Villa will pose a sterner test than they did in December when they lost 4-0 at Eastlands with Mario Balotelli scoring a hat-trick.

He feels they are beginning to pick up under the stewardship of French boss Gerard Houllier.

Mancini said: "The last two or three weeks Villa have played better. But for us the FA Cup is important and we want to progress."

Midfielder Michael Johnson could get a run-out in this fifth-round match after proving his fitness in the reserves after a terrible run of injuries.

Mancini added: "He has played two or three games for the reserves and, although he is not ready for a full game, he could play maybe 20 minutes or half an hour."

Press Association

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