Roberto Mancini moves to lower Manchester City expectations

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The Independent Online

Roberto Mancini has warned Manchester City's expectant supporters not to expect too much, too soon from his team.

City open their Premier League title quest against Swansea this evening knowing that of their major rivals for honours, only neighbours Manchester United have recorded a win.

Mancini's men are heavy favourites to match that triumph against a side who only came out of the Championship via the play-offs.

Yet the Blues boss knows that his own team are far from the finished article and it might be as late as November before they actually start hitting top form on a regular basis.

"The first 10 games are going to be very difficult," he said. "The squad is not 100% ready.

"It needs four or five games to find good form."

It needs a couple to get the squad together, judging by Mancini's statement that he is still to complete it.

The manager's frustrations will surely be eased at some point this week, when it would be a major surprise if Samir Nasri did not complete his protracted move from Arsenal.

Whether Mancini's grand plan also involves a swap deal to get Wesley Sneijder for Tevez is another matter.

Although the City boss was disappointed by Tevez's conduct during the summer, when the unsettled striker confirmed his intention to leave the club due to well-publicised family problems, he remains an admirer of the South American.

There is little doubt Mancini would use Tevez extensively if he remained at the Etihad Stadium after the transfer window closes on September 1.

In addition, City officials have been fairly strident in their insistence Sneijder does not form part of their plans considering the costs involved in prising the Dutchman away from Inter Milan.

Sneijder boasts such obvious quality that the Blues would at least offer a cursory interest should the price go down.

However, presumably, the same applies to Manchester United, who are said to be the 27-year-old's first choice and whose need is more obvious, despite Sir Alex Ferguson's faith in the young section of his squad.

For Colin Bell, an integral member of the last City team to win the title in 1968, it is a peripheral matter compared with the bigger picture of collecting those precious first few points.

"If we are to have any chance of winning the title, we have to really go for it at home and win most of our games here starting against Swansea," the former England international.

"I'd like to see us set our stall out and attack teams at home because we have the players to do it. I want to see us turn teams over and make teams frightened to come to the Etihad Stadium."

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