Mancini retains belief United will slip up as City close gap at top



MANCHESTER City manager Roberto Mancini feels the Premier League title race is far from over, after closing the gap on leaders Manchester United to 12 points.

Carlos Tevez scored his third goal in as many games to hand City maximum points at Villa Park and keep their slim hopes of retaining the title alive with 10 games to go.

But, with the Manchester derby to come at Old Trafford next month, plus games with Champions League chasing Arsenal and Chelsea still to play, Mancini feels there is still potential for a twist in the race for first place.

“We have to keep on winning, because you never know – this is football,” he said. “They still have to play three or four difficult games. Maybe they will lose four games, it will be difficult but we will try.”

Defeat kept Aston Villa inside the bottom three, but manager Paul Lambert maintains the belief his side will avoid relegation.

“If we keep playing like that then we will win more than not,” he said.

City moved in front on the stroke of half-time when substitute Edin Dzeko dispossessed defender Ciaran Clark and squared to Tevez, who rounded goalkeeper Brad Guzan and fired in from six yards.

The champions looked the most threatening with Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure both denied the second goal by the woodwork.

“The goal was ridiculous,” said Lambert. “You cannot afford to take chances at this level.”