Mancini: Goals tally could be key

With 14 goals in three matches, they head into the home derby

against Manchester United on Saturday in a rich vein of form. That

good run has seen City cement fourth place, but Tottenham lie only

a point behind following their victory against Arsenal on Wednesday

night. It seems a straight fight between Mancini and his managerial

counterpart Harry Redknapp for a coveted Champions League place and

the former Inter Milan boss is up for the challenge. “We know that

it is vital we have a good goal difference because that could

possibly decide who finishes in fourth place, ” Mancini told “We have been scoring a few goals in recent weeks,

which is good. There is no reason we cannot continue to keep

scoring if we play in the manner we have been of late, no matter

the opposition.” Wayne Bridge could be set to face United as he has

recovered from a hernia operation which caused him to miss five

matches. The full-back is one of four players who are in line to

return with Stephen Ireland (ankle) and Patrick Vieira (knee) on

the mend following injuries while Pablo Zabaleta is free from

suspension. Bridge has endured a troubled season on and off the

pitch and only returned to action against Hull in February after

missing 13 games because of a knee problem. Mancini said: “We will

have Pablo Zabaleta available again following his two-match ban and

possibly Stephen Ireland, Patrick Vieira and Wayne Bridge too which

is very good news for us. “I am very pleased they are back in

training and we will see how things go this week. It is good that

we are getting everybody fit at such a crucial time of the season

with so many important matches to come.” Bridge has ruled himself

out of England duty after reports surfaced of an affair between his

former girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel and Chelsea captain John Terry.

However, manager Fabio Capello has left the door open for Bridge,

who played alongside Terry at Chelsea, and Mancini also said he

hopes his player changes his mind. Meanwhile Carlos Tevez has been

credited officially with the second goal in the 5-1 victory over

Birmingham. Nedum Onuoha thought he had scored but handed it over

to the Argentina striker, who got a slight touch. Now the club,

asked to rule on the official scorer because the Premier League

only steps into debates about possible own goals, has awarded the

goal to Tevez. It takes the former Old Trafford striker Tevez to 22

goals in the Premier League – and at the heart of the hunt for the

coveted Golden Boot – and 28 in all, his biggest-ever haul in a

single campaign.