Former striker believes Roberto Mancini's charges look ready to snatch the crown from neighbours and calls for fans to respect decision to restore Carlos Tevez to the frontline
By Rob Stewart
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is being backed to lead the club to a first ever Premier League title by former striker Antoine Sibierski, who says the team are playing with the spirit rivals Manchester United are famous for.
Mancini inspired his City team to a stirring 2-1 win against Chelsea to close the gap on pacesetters United to one point, and Sibierski believes the togetherness the Italian’s charges showed is similar to that instilled into his champions by Old Trafford manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“They showed a team spirit against Chelsea which is just like that at Manchester United, and if they maintain that I think there is a great chance that they will win the Premier League title,” Sibierski told Goal.com.
“They have great players at City but sometimes they have played like a group of individuals and that has let them down. But against Chelsea they were all in it together and makes me think they can do it this season and win the league.
“Before the game I was worried but not now. They have a great chance of winning the league. City have now shown that they have learned to play together, especially when things are not going their way, which is what United are so good and it is why they have won so many titles under Ferguson.”
City host United in a potentially pivotal Manchester derby at the end of April, and Sibierski believes that Mancini’s men must continue to emulate their neighbours to make sure they come out on top.
“City are better individually but United play as a unit and they are on a very good run,” the Frenchman added.
“The fact City were losing and then won the game against Chelsea - who for me are a great side - that is a sign that they are also playing as a unit and with great spirit.
“Otherwise they could not have comeback and won the game. That just doesn’t happen if you don’t play as a team and if the spirit in your squad is bad. So definitely for me they have more of a chance of winning the title now, but United will not give anything up without a fight.”
City could return to the top of the table if they beat Stoke City on Saturday as United do not play until Monday when Fulham head to Old Trafford, and Sibierski is certain Mancini’s team will head to the Britannia Stadium with a morale boost.
“As well as getting all three points psychologically it was a great win,” added Sibierski who spent three years at City.
“When you’re at a club when you have all the money that you want to buy players, you are going to buy some quality players and some expensive players. But it doesn’t mean that just because you have 11 Lionel Messi's in your team that you are going to win every game.
“Even with the best players in the world on your side you have to play as a unit, and that is what Man City have started doing again after a bit of a dip.
"They have great players, they play as a team, and beating Chelsea shows that they have the strength of character and the mentality to fight back when things are not going too well. That means the title could be theirs.”
Carlos Tevez came in from the cold to inspire City to victory over Chelsea, and Sibierski has called on fans who greeted Mancini’s decision to restore him to the squad with boos to lay off the Argentine.
“Some people are not happy that he is back and some showed that against Chelsea,” Sibierski continued.
“But Tevez is a kind of player who can bring something in the last 10 games to win the title, so you have to make a decision on whether you do not want to see him play for City again after everything that has happened, or you just think about winning the title and you are going to use him with that in mind.
“Mancini has made his decision and that must be respected whatever you may think about it, and if City win the title things will be forgotten and Tevez will be forgiven.”