Mancini: United must be our blueprint for success
Published 22:31 07/04/12 By Derick Allsop
Roberto Mancini has warned his Manchester City side they must learn from neighbours and rivals United if they want to take over as English football's top dogs.
The City manager contends he needs to reinforce his squad this summer and follow the United blueprint for success.
Mancini admits the title will stay with the quiet neighbours if Alex Ferguson’s side beat QPR in Sunday's early game and City lose at Arsenal in the 4pm kick-off to slide eight points adrift.
And he has no doubts that would be another salutary lesson in how top clubs should – and should not – be run.
Mancini believes his best team can match United’s, but he acknowledges Ferguson’s camp have a depth of talent, experience and organisation that sets them apart.
The Italian said: “United is a strong team, but the difference is in the 20 players, not the 11.
"Probably if we played our best 11 players against United’s best 11 players they would not be better. But we are not ready to lose three or four players.
"Maybe next year if we have more players with strong mentality it will be enough.
“United are better as a club and in their mentality. That is because they are used to staying on top. They can play without problems.
“They maybe don’t have the pressure we have because they have won everything. When you play a team like United, that is the difference, not the players.”
Mancini’s rebuilding plans clearly do not include the return of striker Emmanuel Adebayor following what has so far been a successful loan spell with Tottenham.
“He is playing well and I am happy for him,” added the Italian. “If at the end of the season he wants to stay at Tottenham they can buy him, but there are a lot of teams who want him.
“I don’t think he will come back here, because we have four strikers and it is impossible.”
One striker he would find room for is Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, but the City boss side-stepped that issue by saying: “I just hope he has flu and doesn’t play against us.”
Mancini recognises another crucial distinction in the Mancunian duel.
While City continue to wash their dirty linen in public, United manage to keep most of their domestic conflicts in-house.
“It is true our problems are in the open,” he said. “This is where we need to improve because the problem should always stay inside. It is a problem for the club to realise.
“One of the problems is the photographers at the training ground. We have talked with the guys here for two years about this and they’ve done nothing.
“It is strange, but we need people to understand that when you want to stay at the top you should work hard for everything. You do not want to give other people the chance to talk about you.
“Now we must finish our job to build a strong team. We maybe need time, but we are becoming one of the top in Europe.”
The antics of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli have been the most high-profile embarrassments to undermine City’s cause this season.
But Mancini, conscious that it took Ferguson four seasons to win the FA Cup and another three to secure his first League title, insists he is still not settling for second best.
He said: “In the end, second is not a bad place, but I want to try to win this title.
"I don’t think it is finished.
"United have done very well in the last two months, but there are seven games to the end and football can change in a week.”