Manchester United miss star duo says Mancini

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The Independent Football

Roberto Mancini is not surprised Manchester United are not the same team without Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.

The hazardous weather conditions that have descended on Manchester in the last 24 hours mean Mancini will have to wait a fortnight to pit his wits against Sir Alex Ferguson for the first time.

But, when the pair eventually meet, the subject of Tevez is bound to be raised.

Ferguson declared his belief in the summer the Argentina star had made up his mind to quit Old Trafford long before he notified them he was not willing to sign a permanent contract after two years on loan.

The United boss was not convinced Tevez was worth the money City eventually shelled out for his registration, said to be £40million in some circles.

However, the Red Devils might have benefited from the 25-year-old in December given the brilliant form that saw the former West Ham star plunder eight goals in City's return to form at a time when United suffered a heavy defeat at Fulham before tumbling out of the FA Cup at the hands of League One Leeds.

With Ronaldo also impressing at Real Madrid, it is little wonder most observers feel United are lacking a bit of magic at present.

And Mancini can see why.

"Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo are two top players," said the Italian.

"It is normal when a team loses two players like that they might lose something.

"Carlos, for me, is one of the top 10 players in Europe. And top players cost a lot of money."

Mancini now has some additional time to work on possible new arrivals during the current transfer window, in particular Patrick Vieira, who is set to join on loan from Inter Milan.

In theory, at least, Vieira could face United in the delayed Carling Cup semi-final, while Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure would be available for the second leg should either Togo or the Ivory Coast get knocked out in the group stages of the forthcoming African Nations Cup.

It does mean Mancini is likely to have more options at his disposal when City do eventually try to book their first major final since 1981, so he probably was not too disappointed when the decision to postpone tomorrow night's first leg was taken, even if he could have inflicted even greater wounds on a United side already reeling from that Leeds defeat.

"It is normal when you lose a match like that, you are very angry," said Mancini.

"It can change the situation and the players.

"I have a lot of respect for Sir Alex Ferguson because he has won so many trophies.

"But we wanted to beat him. We don't play to make him feel good."

Not that there was much doubt the game would be postponed once the Greater Manchester area had woken to a six-inch covering of snow that made training impossible at both of the two Carrington complexes.

"It is a huge disappointment for everyone that we have had to postpone the tie but we have had the kind of harsh weather unseen in this part of the world for years," explained City chief executive Garry Cook.

"We pursued every avenue possible in search of a solution and, whilst the pitch is still playable, what was paramount in our thinking was the safety of fans travelling to and from the game, especially in light of the sub-zero temperature forecast for Wednesday night.

"In the end, everyone who was part of the discussions was unanimous that it would have been too dangerous to play the game as scheduled."