Roberto Mancini warns Man City to expect Man United backlash

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini expects a reaction from Manchester United in their FA Cup third-round tie on Sunday

roberto mancini
Roberto Mancini's side are three points clear at the top of the table PA Photos

roberto mancini

Roberto Mancini has warned Manchester City to expect a reaction from Manchester United when the two sides meet in their FA Cup third-round clash at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were condemned to successive league defeats as Newcastle United stunned the champions 3-0 at St James’ Park on Wednesday following their shock loss to Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve.

But Mancini, whose side are three points clear of United at the top of the table, believes those losses will only serve as an additional source of inspiration for their derby rivals ahead of their FA Cup showdown.

“It is a difficult game as it is a derby,” said Mancini. “Perhaps in this moment even more difficult because they are angry after two defeats. I think that they are very strong after the losses and it will be a very tough game.

“I think we had a reaction after Sunderland [where] we deserved to win and our reaction against Liverpool was good. It was not easy as Liverpool are a very strong team and they had only conceded 15 goals before us.

“United come [to Eastlands] after two defeats and [it is] the first game we have played against them since our league win, so there are a lot of things in this game.”

The 47-year-old Italian manager pinpointed last season’s FA Cup triumph as the catalyst for City’s form in the league this season – and the City manager wants to retain the trophy.

“We won the FA Cup last year and we want to go into the final if possible,” added Mancini. “It was a very important win for us and for the club because when you build a new team it is important to win very quickly.

“After one FA Cup or Carling Cup you can understand that if you work hard to win the FA Cup, you can also win the league. And I think for a team like us the FA Cup was very important.”

However, Mancini believes Sunday’s result will not have a telling impact on the destination of the league title. “For the Premier League it is not important,” he said. “Maybe only psychologically. You can after two defeats and another defeat it may be a problem.”

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