Mancini accepts City are favourites
Roberto Mancini has said that he knows his Manchester City team are favourites to lift the Premier League title after victory at Newcastle United.
City will head into their final game of the campaign at home to relegation-haunted QPR sitting at the top of the table and knowing victory will deliver the prize they have craved for the last 44 years. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted in the wake of the win on Tyneside that his club's arch-rivals might have both hands on the trophy, and while Mancini is refusing to look any further ahead that next weekend's game, he knows their destiny remains in their own hands.
Asked if City are now favourites, the Italian said: "Maybe, maybe yes because it depends on us. If we beat QPR, we will be the champions. But at this moment, we can't think about this. We need to prepare very well for the next game, only this. I am excited because we are on the top, but it's not enough. One week more and if we play like we did today, we have a lot of chance to win."
Victory over Newcastle, whose own hopes of Champions League qualification were dealt a blow despite rivals Arsenal and Tottenham only drawing this weekend, will pitch Mancini into battle with Mark Hughes, his immediate predecessor at the Etihad Stadium, with the league title at stake. It was achieved courtesy of a double from Yaya Toure as a tense encounter came to a dramatic conclusion.
Mancini said of the Ivorian: "Yaya is an important player for us because he has experience. He won with Barcelona, he won trophies and he brought to us this experience for this reason. Yaya is a fantastic player, but I don't think you can win here because Yaya played well. We won here against Newcastle because all the team played really well and we deserved to win."
The Magpies tasted defeat for just the second time in nine games - and they have won the other seven - and they will run out at Everton next weekend knowing a third-place finish is still a possibility. Manager Alan Pardew said: "If I was Arsenal, they only need a point to finish in a Champions League position, but actually they need to win because fourth place is not guaranteed, of course, with Chelsea.
"They have got to win, really, in case Spurs finish above them, so that could be significant. For our part, there's a simple equation: we have to win at Everton, which might not be enough, but that's what we need to do."
On a day when Newcastle honoured former manager Sir Bobby Robson by unveiling a new statue of him at St James' Park, they felt the full force of City. Pardew said: "Chelsea under Mourinho looked like they were going to roar forever, but they didn't.
"It just sets a marker down for everybody else now to improve and try to match them. It will be very, very difficult for a club like us, but for the top clubs, it's a big challenge now if they win the title."