Cup win lifts Prem hopes – Roberto Mancini
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has backed Sergio Aguero to boost his side’s Premier League title chase after impressing in Sunday’s 4-0 FA Cup rout over Leeds United.
Aguero, 24, scored two goals and provided the assist for Carlos Tevez’s strike as City booked a quarter-final clash with Barnsley and Mancini believes the Argentinian’s sizzling form could help bridge Manchester United’s 12-point lead atop the Premier League.
“I hope Sergio will be like this from now to the end of the season,” Mancini said. “If he is and our other strikers continue to score until the end, then I think the championship is not finished.
“In Italy we say a game like this is a ‘brodino’ – a starter. I hope it can happen that we start to win in the Premier League again.
“This is possible, but I think we should always be confident in ourselves, even when we’re 12 points behind at this moment. We lost seven points in three games and this can happen for any team.
“But now United play a lot of games. At this moment they deserve to stay there because they have been better than us and scored more goals than us.
“We are unlucky this year [with injuries]. Gareth Barry was nothing, but I think he will be ready for Chelsea. We hope we can recover Vinny [Vincent Kompany] for the next game. Javier [Garcia], we will see tomorrow or uesday, but I don’t think it’s big problem.”
While Arsenal and Everton stumbled in the FA Cup over the weekend, City made light work of Leeds and Mancini was happy to see his side avoid an upset.
Mancini said: “It was important to win this game, clearly if you score two goals in the first 20 minutes it is easier.
“The FA Cup is a difficult competition. Arsenal yesterday, Everton, other teams that play in the Premier League that went out of the competition … if you don’t play with full concentration it is difficult.
“We started well with good intensity, we were concentrated on this target and after that we scored four goals.”
City midfielder James Milner was delighted to bounce back from the Premier League setback at Southampton last weekend with a convincing victory.
City were widely criticised for their lacklustre performance at St Mary’s but they were far too strong for Neil Warnock’s side as they eased into the quarter-finals.
Milner, a Leeds fan and former player, told ESPN: “I hadn’t played against them before but once you get on the field it’s just another game. It was a good atmosphere and a good result for us in the end.
“It was important we bounced back, they’ve knocked a few Premier League teams out of cups this season so it was important we did a job and we did it well.
“We had to improve on last week, we did that, we kept a clean sheet and scored four goals so that’s pleasing.”
Toure added: “We know Leeds are a very tough team. They play very good football and are physically strong. Today was a good response from Man City.”