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Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 16:24 UK

Mancini says Man City run-in will define club's future

Barclays Premier League
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium Date: Saturday, 17 April 2010
Kick-off: 1245 BST Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live, full match commentary on BBC Radio Manchester 95.1FM and DAB, Final Score, live on Sky Sports 1 & highlights on Match of the Day


Mancini eyes Champions League place

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has said the final month of his side's Premier League campaign could be "the most important in the club's history".

City, fourth in the table and in pole position for a Champions League place with five games left to play, host rivals Manchester United on Saturday.

Mancini said: "If we finish fourth we can change the whole way our club is.

"Getting into the Champions League next year would make it easier to get the players we want."

With the end of the campaign in sight, City have pulled narrowly clear of the chasing pack - including Tottenham, Aston Villa and Liverpool - in the race to take the fourth Champions League place, a situation that has not gone unnoticed by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

"It puts a definite emphasis on the derby game. In my years at Manchester United this is the first time we have played City when they have had a chance to achieve something," stated Ferguson.

"It's a different derby game on Saturday, because both teams can achieve something out of it ... and both can lose out of it as well."

The United boss has called Saturday's match at Eastlands "the most significant derby for a long time", a description that City boss Mancini agreed with.

"All derbies are important," Mancini continued, "but this is especially important because United are playing for first place, we are playing for fourth and the two teams are very close."


The City boss also maintained that he hoped United's Wayne Rooney would feature in the match, after an ankle injury threatened to curtail his involvement.

"I want Rooney to play," Mancini said. "If people around the world are watching a game between City and United it is better for the best players to be involved."

City's major attacking threat will be Carlos Tevez, a player who left United amid some acrimony last summer, a fact that Mancini is well aware of.

"Maybe Carlos wants to score in this game more than the others," the City boss said. "I just hope he plays very well, like he has done in the last few games."

The Argentine has already caused problems for his old club, scoring in both legs of the Carling Cup semi-final, which United edged thanks to Rooney's injury-time winner.

However, Ferguson remains adamant he made the right decision letting Tevez leave.

"I have no regrets about that whatsoever," said the United boss. "There is no bitterness from me. Players leave here from time to time. Some do well, others don't. We move on.

"Carlos had a good first season with us, I must admit. In the second he didn't feature in as many games. I cannot dispute that he is having a great goalscoring season."

Match referee Steve Bennett, who had been due to officiate the derby game, will miss the match after becoming stranded abroad following travel disruption caused by a volcanic eruption in Iceland.

The official was in Romania on a training course, and will be replaced by Martin Atkinson.

Meanwhile, Mancini refused to confirm he intended to sign Hamburg defender Jerome Boateng, who is tipped to make an £11m summer switch to City.

"He is only young but he is a good player," said Mancini. "We have followed him, like we have followed a lot of players, but I don't think we will decide what to do until after this season is over."

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see also
Man City 0-1 Man Utd
17 Apr 10 |  Premier League
No alcohol zone for city's derby
16 Apr 10 |  Manchester
Scholes extends Man Utd contract
16 Apr 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney going nowhere - Ferguson
16 Apr 10 |  Man Utd
Mancini fined following Moyes row
15 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Johnson plays down England talk
15 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
Title hopes dealt blow - Ferguson
11 Apr 10 |  Man Utd
Tevez completes move to Man City
14 Jul 09 |  Man City

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