Mancini: Judge me in May

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini expects unpredictable results in the Premier League to continue after watching his team move within three points of leaders Chelsea. 

City have struggled over the last month but Sunday's 4-1 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage means they are still in the race for the title. Chelsea and Arsenal lost over the weekend and Manchester United have drawn seven times already this season.

"The season is very long, very difficult," said Mancini. "Every game is very difficult for everyone. We must continue to work, whether we win or lose, because the season is very difficult."

Mancini has asked to be judged at the end of the season after his team got back to winning ways with their performance against Fulham, with Carlos Tevez scoring twice, with Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure getting the other goals.

"Last week I was a stupid manager who was six points behind," Mancini said. "Now, I am the 'best manager' because I'm only three points off the top of the league. This is not important. We must continue to work and improve every game, every day. Only that way can we win. If we have a big problem, a big crisis and we are only three points behind United and Chelsea, when we're doing well. But, in our minds, we must only think about working.

"We must check at the end of the season. It doesn't bother me but it is impossible to say if you're the best manager or a stupid manager after 15 games. I always thought I was the best manager. In my career, where I stayed I won."

Last week I was a stupid manager who was six points behind. Now, I am the 'best manager' because I'm only three points off the top of the league.
Roberto Mancini, Manchester City manager

City's victory came on the same day their centre-back Kolo Toure was quoted suggesting his team-mates should be docked pay if they underperform and that some players have lacked effort recently.

"I didn't see his interview," Mancini said. "Kolo is a good man. In every squad, it's very important to work but not speak a lot. But every player, every man, can say his opinion. I respect every opinion."

Fulham manager Mark Hughes, who was sacked as City manager 11 months ago, believes his former club could be contenders to Chelsea's crown. He said: "On that performance, certainly. They were excellent. We were complicit in that with the time we let them have. But they've got as good a chance as anybody.

"There are a lot of good people there that I know, and a lot of players who are playing exceptionally well at the moment I brought there. If they have belief and there's forward-thinking, and maybe more attack-minded as they were today on more occasions, there's no reason why they shouldn't be (contenders)."

Hughes was disappointed with his side's performance, adding: "On a professional level I don't like being beaten in that manner by anybody. We were 3-0 down at home, so I can understand the reaction from fans. It's not what they're used to. That was our worst performance, in fairness, and that's the disappointment. We know we're better than that."