Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has insisted that his side “don’t deserve” to trail Manchester United by 15 points and that the only difference between their title-winning campaign and the current one is 20 fewer goals.
Mancini signalled ahead of the Old Trafford derby on Monday that the way to reclaim the title is to launch back into the transfer market and avoid last summer’s errors to which he publicly attributes the now near-inevitable loss of the title. “The difference [this season] is that we scored 20 goals less than last year. We conceded the same, we have the best defence, we are missing only these goals,” Mancini said, before adding the sale of Mario Balotelli hit their hopes. “We had a lot of injuries. We lost Sergio [Aguero]. We lost Mario. Mario scored 15 goals last season.”
Of plans for next season, Mancini said: “We want to improve our team, not like last [summer]. We need to improve our team. We are a young team for this [challenge]. It is only two years we play for the title.”
Goalkeeper Joe Hart has admitted that the defending Premier League champions have not stuck to the adage of needing at least eight players performing per game and that in certain games the side simply “haven’t done it”. The 25-year-old seemed unhappy to be even discussing the loss of last season’s title, but said the table did not lie.
“It’s hard because it’s over the season – it’s not like they have won a bonus game worth 15 points and gone above us,” Hart said, while attending an EA Sports FIFA 13 Ultimate Team event. “They have kept winning and we haven’t, so it has to be a true reflection. It’s hard for me to throw massive positives. It’s easier when you have won the league. But that’s our situation. It’s hard to rank [this disappointment] because everything is an achievement.”
City chief executive Ferran Soriano has been called to testify about accusations that he spied on internal emails at his former club Barcelona after Catalonia’s senior prosecutor subpoenaed him to testify next month. Barcelona had filed a complaint about Soriano and then-fellow director Joan Oliver accusing them of “ fraudulent administration and the disclosure of secrets” and this complaint has now been upheld.
Soriano is asked to testify on 30 May. The case brought by Soriano’s former employer centres on accusations that he ordered a cyber intelligence company, Cybex Experience, to embed a device in the server of the club’s internal computer, monitoring internal emails. It is possible that the 45-year-old, who took over from Garry Cook last August, may be the subject of a campaign emanating from Barcelona.
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United appoint noise experts
Manchester United have appointed acoustic engineers to look into ways of improving the much-derided atmosphere at Old Trafford.
Specialists monitored noise levels at the Liverpool game in January and will attend another match before the end of the season.