Mancini says Manchester City can usurp United

Roberto Mancini has claimed Manchester City could one day knock Manchester United off their pedestal as England's biggest club.

Mancini will experience his first local derby at Eastlands tomorrow knowing victory in the two-legged semi-final would secure City a place in a major domestic showpiece for the first time since 1981.

Given the amounts of cash owner Sheikh Mansour has already invested, with the promise of much more to come, it seems only a matter of time before a 34-year trophy drought comes to an end as well.

And, given United's much-publicised financial restraints, there are some who feel it is also only a matter of time before the Red Devils are usurped as top dogs.

It may seem improbable given United have joined Liverpool on 18 titles by winning 11 since the Premier League was formed in 1992, but Mancini does not believe it is beyond the realms of possibility.

"If we work well, it is possible," said the Italian.

"United have a big history. They have been a good team for many years.

"City can become a big team in the next year. It is most important that we get into the top four.

"That would change the situations. Surely it would be better if City were also a big club in the future because then Manchester could have two clubs in the Champions League."

That is the stated aim for this season, although, having scrambled into a top-four berth last weekend, City promptly fell straight back out of it again on Saturday when they were beaten at Everton.

It was Mancini's first loss, made more notable for a recurrence of Roque Santa Cruz's calf injury after just four minutes that will keep him out for at least a month and his replacement, Robinho, being substituted himself early in the second half as Shaun Wright-Phillips was introduced.

The move has been interpreted as a clear signal Mancini is not impressed by the £32.5million Brazilian's lack of effort and it is once again being suggested Robinho is heading for the Eastlands exit door, if not this month then next summer.

Mancini tried to play down such talk, although he hardly helped matters with an unfavourable comparison to Carlos Tevez.

"It was a bad night for us all. Robinho can play well but it is not always possible and on Saturday he played the same as his team-mates.

"When I put Wright-Phillips on I had to take a striker off because I cannot keep five forwards on the pitch.

"I had to decide between Robinho and Carlos."

In truth, the conclusion was an obvious one and Mancini will be pinning his hopes on Tevez to do some damage to his old club, having left Old Trafford in such acrimonious circumstances last summer.

"I hope that Carlos can score goals because he is an ex-United player," said Mancini.

"But it is important that the squad plays well. And we must not forget this match is over two games."

As Patrick Vieira's debut is on hold until he recovers from the calf injury he picked up immediately before his move from Inter Milan, Mancini is probably relieved Stephen Ireland is at least fit enough to take up a place on the bench after missing three matches with a hamstring problem.

Mancini admitted his first taste of defeat in England left him feeling angry - not so much with his team's performance, which was poor, but purely because he is a bad loser.

However, he has been made aware of a far more tense situation at United, where the financial restraints imposed by the Glazer family's controversial takeover have been laid bare.

Not that Mancini expects that to have any impact tomorrow.

"Manchester United have been on the top for many years," he said.

"It is not important if they have problems.

"On a pitch there are only players, not money."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future