Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

For Real, Mancini Wants a United Win

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

For Real, Mancini Wants a United Win

Article excerpt

ROBERTO Mancini will be cheering Manchester United on to Champions League success against Real Madrid next week.

However, that is only because it will give Manchester City more chance of retaining their Barclays Premier League title.

The consolation from his own side's exit from Europe's number one club competition was the Blues chief has always felt it could be the distraction to United which aids City's cause.

That belief was heightened when the Red Devils were paired with Real in a blockbuster last-16 tie, which will be played at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Such is the nature of the rivalry between the two clubs, most City fans will want United to lose no matter what the impact to their own team.

However, Mancini is being more pragmatic about the situation.

He said: "It is normal when you play against Real Madrid in the Champions League you can lose your strength.

"So I support Manchester United to go through in the Champions League."

The odds remain stacked against City, who have slipped nine points behind Sir Alex Ferguson's men after drawing their last two games against QPR and Liverpool.

Mancini, though, is refusing to throw in the towel.

After all, he reasons, given the Blues were eight points behind with only six games remaining last season and managed to turn the situation around in their favour, so why can it not happen again? Mancini added: "Manchester United have done better than us this season because they won a lot of games. They have nine points more than us.

"If we can recover eight points in six games, recovering nine in 13 games will be easy.

"I never remember the title race being finished 10 or 13 games before the end.

"Three years ago Chelsea were nine points behind at one point.

"By the time they played at Old Trafford two or three games from the end, they were only three points behind.

"In the end, if Manchester United win all their games from now to the end of the season, they deserve to win, but I am sure we have another chance. …

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