MANCHESTER CITY BOSS Roberto Mancini has played down the hype surrounding Monday’s derby with Manchester United, labelling it ‘just another game’.
The Italian’s attitude is in stark contrast to that of United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has already labelled the game the most important derby match in history, and one that will decide the Premier League title race.
“The derby is always the game of the year,” Mancini told reporters. “For the supporters, a derby is always a different game to the others. It is important for the city.
“Manchester has two top teams who are in a position to play this important game.
“But for us it will just be one more game, not because we fight for this or for that, and after it there are another two games, very tough games.”
The Eastlands club trail their rivals by three points going into the game but their superior goal difference means that a win would take them above United with just two games remaining.
City fans will be hoping for a repeat of their side’s 6-1 demolition of United in October’s derby game at Old Trafford, although Mancini was quick to dismiss any notion of his side replicating that performance.
“The one at Old Trafford was a fantastic derby. But it was a game that can happen only once every hundred years,” he said.
Mancini is hoping Monday’s task will be made easier by the availability of several key players returning from injury and suspension, including the controversial Mario Balotelli.
“If Yaya Toure is on form, he is a top player,” Mancini said. “But we need him to be 100 percent and on Sunday he was so-so.
“We also need to check on Micah Richards to see how his hamstring is. Providing he has recovered, with Mario Balotelli back from suspension, we will have everyone.”
Win or lose, Mancini feels his side have made significant strides this season, and is pleased with the team’s performance this year.
“We are happy to be where we are,” he said.