Roberto Mancini retains Premier League title hopes

Manchester City trail Manchester United by nine points

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is adamant the odds against them retaining their Premier League title are not insurmountable.

A 2-2 draw at home to Liverpool saw them lose further ground on rivals Manchester United, who are nine points clear at the top.

But Mancini insists nothing is impossible and believes if they can gradually reduce the deficit over the next couple of months they will still be in a position to challenge when they go to Old Trafford on April 6.

"Last year we recovered eight points in six games so I don't know why it can't happen this year," he said.

"We have 15 games and they have to play in FA Cup and the Champions League so the season is long - three months - and we are confident.

"It is enough to recover three or four points in three games.

"For us it is important to play the derby two or three points behind and we have time to recover these points.

"We didn't play like we had in the last month but we are confident."

It is a tall order facing City, but considering the remarkable circumstances in which they won the title in May, with virtually the last kick of the season, Mancini is not ruling anything out.

"Two years ago Chelsea were nine points behind and when they went to play at Old Trafford two games from the end (of the season) they were only two points behind," added.

"I don't think this is finished but probably now we have to win all the games but if not then 11 or 12 games.

"But in football this can happen sometimes."

Despite Edin Dzeko's 12th goal of the season, converting James Milner's cross from close range, City failed to capitalise and were pegged back by former player Daniel Sturridge's fierce drive.

The goal was surrounded in controversy, however, as Liverpool rejected the chance to kick the ball out with Dzeko sprawled on the turf midway inside the visitors' half after a tackle by Daniel Agger.

"Liverpool played better than us in the first half but I am disappointed for the first goal," added the Italian.

"If Vinny (City's captain Vincent Kompany) did that foul it would probably be a red card. Instead the referee didn't say anything.

"For 10 minutes he saw all the fouls for Liverpool and he didn't see this. Agger did a foul.

"I think the referee should whistle: in the last two games there were fouls for us - there was a penalty against QPR which the referee didn't see.

"Probably they should have stopped because they scored after 15 seconds or so when Dzeko was on the floor and we didn't know what was wrong.

"But in the end the result was correct. I am disappointed because I think we didn't played well."

After that goal the visitors grew in confidence, and when Steven Gerrard smashed home a brilliant dipping volley from 30 yards City were on the ropes.

But a moment of madness from Jose Reina - rushing from his goal to the left edge of his penalty area - and a moment of genius from Sergio Aguero in turning the goalkeeper and firing home from an acute angle, spared City even more woe.

PA

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