Mancini insists he is on track to deliver at City

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The Independent Football

Roberto Mancini has dismissed suggestions that he feels under any pressure at Manchester City, having coped with the intensity that goes with the top job at Internazionale for four seasons. The Italian has faced criticism that he had not improved City since taking over from Mark Hughes last December, given their roughly similar points totals this season and last, but his position was strengthened by a comprehensive 4-1 win over Hughes' Fulham on Sunday.

The result at Craven Cottage sent City back into fourth place in the League, a position that Mancini has previously said would satisfy him should City finish there. That would mean qualification for the Champions League play-off round, which would be the first time since 1968 that they had been involved in Europe's most prestigious club competition. But having enjoyed considerable success with Inter, Mancini feels relaxed about his attempts to do the same thing for City. "Journalists continue to say I am under pressure. I am not under pressure," he said.

"When you have worked for Inter Milan for four years it is impossible to be under pressure. They are one of the top teams in Italy and one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"When I went there, they hadn't won anything for years. I was under pressure every day, with people demanding to know, 'When will Inter win? When, when, when?' But I stayed four years, which is a big record for a manager there."

Mancini went on to defend his record so far at City. Since taking over, he has been criticised for a defensive style of play, which has seen City both score and concede fewer goals than they did under his predecessor. Hughes said after he saw City beat his Fulham team that City's chances of winning the league were dependent on their continuing to be "a bit more attack-minded". But Mancini insisted that his cautious approach was correct. "It is impossible to build a house from the roof down," he said.

"You must start with the basement. Now, maybe we are on the second floor. We have time but we must continue to improve."

The City centre-back Vincent Kompany said that Sunday's performance was one of the best of the season so far. "We have had a couple of good performances but this was one of a very high standard," said the Belgian.

"When we came in at half-time we said, 'This is the standard we have to expect from ourselves now for the whole season'."

Kompany is keen that Sunday's performance becomes a benchmark for performances for the rest of the season. "There is not one minute of this season that we want to play at a lower level than we did at Fulham. Maybe we won't achieve it but if the team shows this mentality it is a good thing.

"Who knows where we go now? But the ambition of any team in the top six should be to compete with Chelsea and Manchester United and there is no reason to suggest why it would not be possible."