Toure targets derby, slip-up frustrates Nani
Yaya Toure has urged Manchester City to seize the initiative and capitalise on being handed an unexpected Premier League title lifeline by leaders Manchester United. Toure has described next Monday's derby with United at the Etihad Stadium as one of the most important games in the club's history.
The midfielder and other City players found out about United's shock 4-4 home draw with Everton while on the coach to Molineux for yesterday's clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers. A 2-0 win, thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri, means City are only three points behind United and with a superior goal difference.
Toure said: "United's result was amazing. It was an unbelievable day for us with United dropping points at home. For me, it was strange. We found out about it on the bus on the way to Wolves. It was quite unbelievable and we now have to try and take advantage.
"We did the first part by beating Wolves but we have to settle down and continue to work hard because United still have three points more than us. We have to play them at home and, if you look at the record of United, they are very strong away and it will be a very difficult test for us.
"I think this year the club need to win the cup (title) and it will be difficult. But we need to win this derby because it will be one of the most important games the club have had."
Toure praised the City players for being able to take advantage of United's slip-up by disposing of relegated Wolves. He said: "People say we looked nervous at stages of the game and we have a lot of young players and not so many experienced ones.
"When your big rivals drop points at home, and you have to win your game, it is quite difficult. But with the players we have, it can make the difference all of the time with the likes of Aguero, Tevez and Nasri, and we did the job."
Mancini said: "We have another chance but they have a bigger chance than us at this moment. After the derby, the games United have left are not as difficult as the ones we have to play. We have improved a lot from last year. This is important if you are building a team. If you win, you are happy, for sure. But if you are improving, then that's important."
Following United's draw with Everton, Nani has admitted a lack of concentration was to blame for setting up what will be the most important derby clash of Sir Alex Ferguson's career. Barring improbably large victories in their final two games, Ferguson and his players know that, not only will they surrender top spot if they lose, there will be nothing they can do to alter the situation should City win their final two games.
And for that, United only have themselves to blame. "There is anger from the players," said Nani. "The concentration was not the best in the last few minutes - that's why they were able to create chances and score goals. We had a lot of possession and played some fantastic football in attack. But we conceded too many goals and we're not happy about that."
Some in the United camp have been quick to try and limit the damage by claiming that, at the beginning of January, after successive defeats to Blackburn and Newcastle, hands would have been bitten off to approach this game with a three-point advantage.
It has also been pointed out that United began their surge by beating City in an FA Cup tie where they established a three-goal lead, even though the game ended 3-2. However, when asked if they can still win the United's 20th league crown, Nani's confidence was unwavering. "Of course," he said. "We have to keep believing in our qualities because we still have a great opportunity to win the title.
"It's a huge game [at City] - there will be a fantastic atmosphere there. It will be a difficult game, but if you want to win the league you cannot think about the atmosphere or the opponents, we must just think about the way we play and try to win the game."