Mancini only looking forward
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has enjoyed the afterglow of last week's stunning derby triumph but now claims it counts for little. City emphatically underlined their title credentials as they thrashed champions Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford to move five points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Yet while City supporters may continue to revel in their biggest derby win since 1926, Mancini quickly wants to turn back to the bigger picture. The Italian said: "The feeling is good but the game is in the past now, it is history, finished. We have to focus on Wolves. For me it is better to win six derbies 1-0 than one 6-1.
"I enjoy it always, being Manchester City manager. I think we are working very well but if we want to become a top team for the next 20 years we cannot be happy only because we beat United 6-1. It is not important. The supporters are happy, very happy, but for us we play every three days and work every day. We know our job and we understand we should stay with our feet on the floor."
City, who have dropped just two points and scored 33 goals in their opening nine games of the season, have now been installed as title favourites. "That is not important," added Mancini. "I think there are four or five teams that can win the title. At this moment we are top but the table can change every game. The season is long. From after the next international break we play every three days for six months. It will be very difficult."
Mancini made 11 changes for his side's League Cup fourth-round win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in midweek. The likes of Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero had a night off but they could return against the same opponents tomorrow.
Wolves, beaten 5-2 at Molineux on Wednesday, are also likely to field a much-changed side for the Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium and Mancini is not fooled by their poor recent form. The Italian said: "Every time we play against Wolves we have a problem. Last year we lost away and here they were down 4-3 and in the last few minutes had a good chance to go 4-4.
"The problem will be if we think we can play not at 100 per cent like (against) United, that we think we can play 50 per cent against Wolves. If we don't play serious we can have a problem. I think if you don't always play very strong against every team you can take a risk. We made 11 changes because we needed to change the players for the game in the Carling Cup. Tomorrow will be different and three days after we have a Champions League game, so I am sure we will do seven or eight changes."
Plaudits have poured in for City's fine football this season with some comparisons drawn with the 'Invincibles' Arsenal side which won the Premier League unbeaten in 2004. Mancini believes it is going too far to speculate about whether his team could repeat the feat of Arsene Wenger'sThierry Henry-inspired Gunners. Mancini said: "I remember that team was very strong, it was an incredible team. I don't think that for us this year. I think we need to improve. In this moment we are in form, our feeling is good and it is important to continue to have focus on every game."