Mancini: We'll need spirit shown against Liverpool to cope without Yaya
Published 23:07 03/01/12 By David Maddock
Manchester City gave notice of their title intent last night, with a three-goal demolition of Liverpool.
The Premier League leaders strolled to a victory that suggests they will not relinquish their grip on top spot easily, despite losing key midfielder Gareth Barry to a red card midway through the second half.
The Eastlands club now hold a three point advantage at the head of the table, but it was the manner of the win which will leave rivals Manchester United concerned opponents this morning.
And boss Roberto Mancini believes his side will become Champions if they can maintain that lead through a crucial January period when they will be without the influential Yaya Toure.
The Ivory Coast international departs next week for Africa Cup of Nations duty, which the Italian boss admits will be a massive loss.
But Mancini is confident his side will rise to the challenge, just as they did against Liverpool last night, when they posted such a huge result, despite losing at Sunderland just 48 hours earlier.
"It was a great response, the result against Sunderland was crazy. We deserved to win 3-0 that game, so I am pleased we responded so well after that setback," he said.
"We showed spirit. In the second half we had some problems, but we came through it, and found a solution, and we will need that spirit without Yaya.
"I try to find another Yaya in the squad but there isn't one. He is very important to the team, to the way we play, and he is a big influence on the side, so we will miss him.
"If we can stay on the top after January we can have a good chance to win the title, because without Yaya and Kolo it will be very difficult."
United can go level again if they gain all three points at Newcastle this evening, but to see their neighbours dispose of a previously threatening Liverpool side so comfortably will be worrying for boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
An early horrific mistake from Reds keeper Pepe Reina, who allowed a tame Sergio Aguero shot to slip under his body, gave City an initiative they never looked likely to give up.
Further goals from Yaya Toure and a James Milner penalty when they were already reduced to 10 men, gave the Blues a dramatic win, that was emphasised by their dominance even with a numerical disadvantage.
It left Toure proudly proclaiming the spirit of his team-mates, and a result he believes could have a big impact on the psychology of the title race.
"We have put pressure on Manchester United, it was a very important win because it gives us confidence at a very important time," he said.
"The resilience we showed, the character was great, and it is important we showed that just 48 hours after a tough game where we lost. We deserved to win, and it could be important."