Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini remains downbeat on his side’s chances of wrenching the Premier League title away from Manchester United.
City could pull ahead of their neighbours on goal difference at the top if they win their crucial derby match on Monday, but the Italian still expects the Red Devils to triumph.
“I am not surprised because in football, until you finish the championship or every game, anything can happen,” Mancini told reporters when quizzed on United’s slip from a clear lead to allow his side back into the race.
“But my opinion is always the same - I think they have more chance than us.
"We play the derby [on] Monday and then afterwards Newcastle, that will be a very tough game, then after that QPR.
"Instead, United will play against Swansea and Sunderland and I think for them they will be two easy games.
"I think [even] if we win this game, they are favourites."
Mancini’s opposite number, Sir Alex Ferguson, has labelled Monday’s match “the derby of all derbies”, and the 47-year-old concurred with the assessment.
“After 50 years, Manchester United and Manchester City are playing for the title [once more]. For this reason I agree with him,” he added.
There could also be a return in store for controversial striker Mario Balotelli, whom Mancini had previously implied would not play again this season after his red card against Arsenal. However, with his ban at an end, the coach hinted that he could be involved.
“We have another two training sessions but all the players are available,” said the former Inter boss.
“I have 48 hours until the game, I have time to decide for every player.”