Mancini: Manchester United fatigue could help us retain title

The Italian manager has admitted that Manchester City will be hoping the league leaders suffer from tiredness, as his team attempt to close the 12-point gap at the top of table
Roberto Mancini admits Manchester City are hoping Manchester United suffer a dip in form similar to the one which the Premier League champions experienced themselves in late January and early February.

City are attempting to close the 12-point gap at the top of the table, and manager Mancini believes a bad result for United could help swing the momentum of the title race in favour of City.

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And the Italian also admits he hopes fatigue in the United ranks can play a part in the coming weeks.

"Football is strange for this," he told reporters. "Sometimes you lose a game, you don't know why. Maybe one, two, three games.

"We took two points from three games against Liverpool, Southampton, QPR [in late January and early February]. Sometimes this can happen.

"United are playing very well this season, they played fantastic against Real Madrid. But 10 games until the end is a difficult moment because all the teams can be tired after eight months. We hope."

The City boss also believes fixture congestion United may experience - particularly with an FA Cup quarter-final replay to come against Chelsea on April 1 - could be advantageous for his side.

"For this reason [fatigue] – because when you play one game every three days, it is always a top-quality game, there will be a moment that you are tired," Mancini added.

"I was not surprised [about the Chelsea result]. Sometimes they didn't play very well but won because they have good players. For a top team it is important to win when you don't play well.

"The next two or three games will be crucial. If they lose a point in the next two games, maybe [we can catch them]. After the two games, we have the derby [on 8 April]."