Mancini calls for final flourish
Roberto Mancini tonight urged his Manchester City players not to waste their historic FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester United by failing to end their 35-year trophy drought. Yaya Toure today fired City into their first final since 1981, where they will play the winners of tomorrow's clash between Bolton and Stoke.
Mancini's men will be strong favourites to claim their first trophy since the 1976 League Cup at Wembley next month but the Italian claimed the final would be even tougher than this afternoon's 1-0 victory.
A delighted Mancini said: "I'm very happy. I'm very happy for our supporters. They deserve to have a day like this afternoon. We mustn't forget we play another game. Today, we won only the semi-final."
City's travelling fans must have been fearing the worst after an opening quarter dominated by United which saw Dimitar Berbatov produce two glaring misses. Mancini added: "It's difficult to play against United. They're used to playing this (type of) game every year. For us, it was the first time after a long time.
"Maybe we had some fear in the first 20-25 minutes. In the last ten, 15 minutes of the first half, we started to play high, we started to press. In the second half, we dominated the game. I am happy because we had fantastic spirit and we beat a team like Man United."
It would not be a Manchester derby without controversy and both sides duly delivered as Paul Scholes was sent off for a thigh-high tackle on Pablo Zabaleta and Mario Balotelli was involved in some ugly exchanges with United players on the final whistle after celebrating in front of opposition supporters. Mancini said of the latter incident: "I didn't see it. I want to wait because every time, 'It's Balotelli's fault'."
Toure was named man of the match for what was a marauding performance but Mancini refused to single him out. "Yaya is a fantastic player," he said. "But I think today in the second half all the players played a fantastic game."
Cup and qualification the aim
City are also chasing fourth place in the Premier League and, asked if the cup was now more important, he said: "We want both. I think that also we deserve to play in the Champions League because we were for one year between first and fourth spot. We have everything in our hands. If we have the same spirit we had today, we have the fourth spot."
Victory today eased the pressure on Mancini to bring success to City, with the club having spent millions in pursuit of glory since the takeover of Sheik Mansour. But he said: "I don't have pressure.
"When I decided 11 years ago to start this career, I knew that it was difficult to do this job. If you win, you are the best. If you lose, you are the worst manager. I would like to win this cup for the club, for the supporters, all the people that work at Manchester City."
Mancini reiterated his belief that landing the FA Cup could inspire City to win the Premier League next season. "I believe in what I said because, for us, it's important to start to win the first trophies."