Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has insisted Aston Villa are better than their lowly Premier League position attests.
Paul Lambert's side are currently mired in the relegation zone having picked up just 24 points in 27 top-flight games so far this term.
However, ahead of his side's trip to Villa Park on Monday, the Italian has opined that the Villans do not deserve to be in their current rut.
"Aston Villa are in a difficult situation. I don't know their situation very well but for me they have good players," he told reporters.
"Maybe they have young players and this is the reason they fight against relegation. But it is my opinion they have good players and probably they don't deserve to stay there."
City could be 15 points adrift of rivals United at the top of the table when they face Villa, but Mancini claims his squad will never give up on retaining the Premier League title.
He added: "When we have another 11 games and it is impossible [to give up]. We should do our best from now to the end and after we will see what happens."