Mancini not getting carried away

Victory over Mick McCarthy’s battlers will allow City to leapfrog

neighbours Manchester United and increase the pressure ahead of the

Red Devils’ key trip to Tottenham on Sunday. Yet Mancini is anxious

not to spend time bothering about that. All the Italian cares about

is where City are at the season’s end. “We should not think about

it,” he said. “We should only think about our games. “The season is

very long and we have another 17 matches to play. “The table could

change every three days, so we must focus only on Wolverhampton,

nothing else.” Mancini’s assessment is understandable. Along with

Liverpool and Chelsea, City have already been one of Wolves’

high-profile victims this term. By taking points off all the

established big four, plus Tottenham this term, the Blues have

proved they are good enough to challenge for the biggest prizes.

But, as Mancini acknowledges, that is only part of the battle. “If

you beat all these teams, the ones like Wolves, Blackpool and Aston

Villa and draw against those like Chelsea and United, you win the

title. “But it is not easy. “The problem comes when you meet a team

that, in your head, you think are easy. “Against Arsenal, United or

Chelsea, you don’t need to remind yourself to concentrate. You are

there a week before. “But if you think a game is going to be easy,

that is when you lose. It happens here and in Italy. “There is no

such thing as an easy game.” Mancini is pondering whether to hand a

debut to £27million new boy Edin Dzeko. With three matches in

a week coming up and the 24-year-old slightly rusty, having not

played a competitive game since the start of the German winter

break in mid-December, he may start life as a City player on the

bench. More certain is the Bosnian’s arrival is set to release

Roque Santa Cruz from his personal torment, and probably Shaun

Wright-Phillips, who has been eased out of the first-team picture

since Mancini’s arrival. “If an opportunity for either of them to

play came up, then it would be better for them,” said Mancini.

“Probably Roque will go to Blackburn in one or two days and Shaun

has two or three options.”