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Roberto Mancini says he expects City to lose against United


Roberto Mancini during Manchester City's game against Wolves. Photo: Getty Images

Roberto Mancini during Manchester City's game against Wolves. Photo: Getty Images

Roberto Mancini during Manchester City's game against Wolves. Photo: Getty Images

Roberto Mancini insists Manchester United are still Premier League title favourites despite his Manchester City side closing the gap on the leaders to three points.

United, who play City Monday April 30, were held to a 4-4 draw by Everton at Old Trafford after leading 3-1 and 4-2, while City took advantage of their slip-up by winning 2-0 at Wolves to doom them to relegation.

But Mancini remains adamant the title is "not in our hands" even though City would almost certainly finish top if they win their remaining three games given their superior goal difference.

He said: "We will talk about one team winning the title on Monday night if we beat them," said Mancini.

"I probably expect us to lose to Manchester United. Their players are used to playing under pressure every year.

"But we don't have any pressure as we have no chance of winning.

"We have another chance but United have a bigger chance than us at this moment (to win the title)."

Mancini suggested that City also have a more difficult run-in than their neighbours.

"We have three difficult games against United, Newcastle and QPR. Newcastle are fighting for the Champions League and QPR are fighting to avoid relegation," he said.

"After the derby, United have two games [against Swansea and Sunderland] which are not easy, but not difficult like us.

"Only one team can win this title. It's not in our hands. We have three points less.

"In any case, you all wrote the title race was finished. Seven days ago, the race was finished. You wrote it.

"Therefore I congratulate Sir Alex Ferguson on a good season."

It remains to be seen whether the apparent mind games being played by Mancini pays off but he is clearly striving to keep the focus away from his players.

In terms of whether City or United are under more pressure, Mancini said: "I don't think they have pressure because they are used to it every year.

"For us, it's different because it's the first time. But we want to finish well. It's important for our season."

Mancini was unhappy with his side's performance against Wolves but concedes results are of more paramount importance after goals from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri sealed victory.

He said: "It was a so-so performance, not a good one like against Norwich or West Brom.

"It was important to win, but our performance was not perfect. We have played well all season but now it only matters to win."

Aguero broke the deadlock with his 29th goal of the season shortly before the half-hour mark after a spirited start by the home team.

Nasri wrapped up a third successive win for City after the break after Carlos Tevez had teed him up.