We will win the title, says bullish Mancini despite City's poor start to the season
21:48 GMT, 28 September 2012
Roberto Mancini has shrugged off one of his worst runs as Manchester City manager by promising to retain the Barclays Premier League title this season.
Tuesday’s Capital One Cup defeat at home by Aston Villa means Mancini has failed to win in four attempts for the first time since he took over in December 2009.
City’s overall record in all competitions this season stands at just two wins from seven games with 14 goals conceded.
We'll be No 1: Roberto Mancini says Manchester City will win the title
But the Italian is drawing comfort from the fact that Sergio Aguero is fit again and his team are unbeaten in the Premier League, having let in only two more goals than they had at the same stage last season, when a draw at Fulham ended their 100 per cent start in the league.
Mancini returns to Craven Cottage today convinced that City are on course to successfully defend the title they snatched so dramatically from Manchester United in May.
‘We will win the title,’ he said. ‘I agree it’s more difficult the second year. But after the problems we’ve had this month, we’re four points behind Chelsea, we’ve played two difficult away games against Liverpool and Stoke and got the same result, two draws, as we did last season.
Ready to challenge: The Manchester City players wait on the platform at Stockpot station before heading down to London for Saturday's game at Fulham
‘This can happen the year after you win the title, that in the first couple of months you don’t play well. But we’ve recovered Sergio and he is important for us. I am sure now we will start to not concede a lot of goals and to score more.’
Mancini blames the current slump on a summer disrupted by having so many players on international duty at Euro 2012, as well as early-season World Cup qualifiers.
It has certainly taken its toll on Spaniard David Silva, and the City boss claimed that Argentina striker Carlos Tevez is no longer in the peak condition he reached at the start of the season.
‘Carlos was better in the first month,’ said Mancini. ‘Now after the international break, he has slowed down.
‘He was fantastic for three or four games. Then he went to Argentina for one week and maybe lost his condition.’
The other problem for Mancini has been bedding in his five summer signings, all brought in on deadline day at a total cost of 37million. Shuffling his defence to accommodate Maicon and Matija Nastasic seems to have unsettled City, who conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League in both of the past two seasons.
‘It’s difficult because we didn’t have all the defenders in pre-season and we had new players on the last day of the market,’ said the City boss. ‘It’s clear we need time for these new players.’