Roberto Mancini targets Manchester City victory at Old Trafford
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admits he would take particular pleasure from beating Manchester United at Old Trafford tomorrow.
Not just because of the bragging rights but because of the impetus he believes it would give his side in the run-in for the Barclays Premier League title.
Mancini said: "I like to play this game. I like to play at Old Trafford because it is better to win there than at home.
"Because when you win away in a derby it is more important for our head and our personality.
"You look at a team (United) that was winning everything and a team (City) that hasn't won anything for a long time. This can change at any moment."
A victory for Mancini's men would narrow the gap on their rivals to two points, although the leaders have a game in hand.
Mancini believes it is now an open race for the championship after a weekend that saw United lose to Wolves, Chelsea fall at home to Liverpool and Arsenal blow a four-goal lead at Newcastle, taking a point instead of three.
City maintained their momentum with a 3-0 victory against West Brom and the Italian coach is excited about what the future might hold.
He said: "It is a derby and an important game - one team top of the table and one team third. Every game is difficult. Nobody thought United would lose against Wolves. But this is football.
"Now the Europa League and the Champions League start again every week everything can change.
"Before Chelsea lost to Liverpool, I thought Chelsea could win the title. United are top but it is difficult to say who can win the title this season.
"For us it is very important for us to win something, Europa League, FA Cup, Barclays Premier League."
City were hit by three sucker-punches last season and Mancini does not want an action replay.
Michael Owen and Paul Scholes hit late winners in the league matches while Wayne Rooney followed a similar route in the Carling Cup semi-final to take United to Wembley.
Mancini said: "They were very lucky last year. Our team is a good team. We have improved in six months.
"Maybe United have a better winning mentality than us because they have won a long time. This is the only difference.
"When we start to win trophies maybe things will change. When you are winning for 20 years your mentality is very strong.
"Also when you do not play well you know if you have a strong team at the end of the game if you do not concede a goal you can win. We have improved in this way."
Mancini believes the burgeoning partnership between David Silva and Carlos Tevez is pushing the team upwards.
Tevez scored a first-half hat-trick at the weekend and faces his former club with 20 goals to his credit this season.
Two of them came from the penalty spot, the other after he was set up by former Valencia midfielder Silva.
Mancini said: "They have a good relationship. While it is important we play as a team David is one of those players who can change a game in a moment.
"I hope Carlos continues as he was in the last game. He should think about the game and nothing else."
Mancini, however, is not getting caught up in the pre-match hysteria around his adopted city.
"I am staying at home and not talking to anyone. I know how important a game it is to the supporters, " he added.
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