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Mancini ready to accept 'favourties' tag for City

Mancini ready to accept 'favourties' tag for City

The Manchester City manager, however, is not expecting an easy game against relegation-threatened QPR next week.

Manchester: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has once again insisted the title race is not "finished", despite his side's 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at Sports Direct Arena on Sunday.

A second-half double from Yaya Toure ensured the Italian's side remained top of the Premier League going into the final game of the season against QPR next week at the Etihad Stadium.

Even with this weekend's 1-0 win over Stoke City, Mark Hughes' men find themselves just two points above the relegation zone - a factor Mancini is aware will mean they are no pushovers.

“We have another game and it will be another difficult game because QPR are fighting against relegation and so it will not be easy next Sunday," Mancini told reporters. “It is not finished. We are in the same situation we were after Monday night [after the derby win over Manchester United]. But maybe we are favourites because if we beat QPR we will be champions, but at this moment we cannot think about this. We need to prepare very well for QPR."

"It will be like last week and the week before. There will be no change. United, Newcastle and QPR are all difficult games. If we think that we have won the championship, we will be making a big mistake."

"I am excited because we are at the top but that is not enough because there is one week more, but if we play like we did today then have a big chance of winning."

"Winning the league is important for everyone - the owner, the chairman, our supporters, for us because we work hard - because together it is a good team, but it needs to do it for one game more."

The 47-year-old was satisfied with his side's performance, reserving special praise for midfielder Toure, while paying tribute to Newcastle United, who missed out on the chance to go third.

"It was an important game. Without this victory beating United would not have been important," Mancini said. "Today was difficult because Newcastle are a good team and they have had a fantastic season. We knew we would have to play very well. We played well in the first half because they did not have any chance of scoring and we had two or three chances and had more control of the ball."

"It is very different to a few weeks ago but it was also very different 10 weeks ago when we were on top. Football is like this. It can change every week. We did well all the season and we had some problems five or six weeks ago maybe, and today we did well again."

Speaking of Yaya Toure, the Italian said, "He is an important player for us because he has experience of winning trophies with Barca [Barcelona] and he brought this experience with us. He is a fantastic player and he can play in different positions. But we also have other good players who can play with him and I think that until now all the players did very well."

Mancini also refused to discuss what winning a first league title in 44 years would mean to City, but insisted he always believed his side would get another opportunity to reclaim top spot despite going eight points behind Manchester United only a month ago.

"I always believed in this. When you are there for 28 games and you dominate the championship I think that you should have another chance. It would have been strange not to have had another chance. We know the history of the club, but we can only talk about this on Sunday [next week] at five o’clock."