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City better than Man United: Mancini

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insists his team have shown they are better than United and have plenty of time to make up the six-point deficit to their city rivals.

City suffered a first defeat of the season when they lost a fractious Manchester derby 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium last weekend.

Although they now trail their neighbours by six points, Mancini is taking heart from that fact that his team made up an eight-point deficit over the course of the final six matches of last season to snatch the title on goal difference.

Even though his side were beaten by Robin van Persie’s late winner, Mancini believes he saw enough to believe that his team - which won the Premier League last season - is better than Alex Ferguson’s side. He has called on his players to show the same kind of attitude to the Old Trafford club.

But he believes that his team’s lack of European football, coupled with United’s Champions League commitments, will have an impact in the new year. Mancini said: ‘I think that, it’s my opinion, we showed that we are better than United.

‘They have more experience than us and they don’t have any problems when they are behind and they continue to work.

‘We should do the same, continue to work hard and we know that it only depends on us. The season is very long and in February when the Champions League starts, everything can change.’

The City manager believes that his team face a pivotal month. They face Newcastle on Saturday before matches against Reading, Sunderland, Norwich and Stoke over the festive period.

Gareth Barry is suspended for the trip to Newcastle, while James Milner and Jack Rodwell are also likely to miss out.

 Mancini has also confirmed that Yaya Toure will play for the Ivory Coast in the African Nations Cup in South Africa in the new year.

Meanwhile, Manchester United host Sunderland on Saturday as Liverpool face struggling Aston Villa at Anfield. Liverpool sit 10th in the Barclays table.
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