Mancini: United still above City

City meet their neighbours in the Community Shield at Wembley on

Sunday at the start of a season in which they hope to challenge for

the Premier League title. But Mancini’s expensively-assembled FA

Cup winners finished nine points behind champions United last term

and the Italian sees them as the benchmark. He said: “Manchester

United at the moment are on top. “They are a strong team, they won

the Premier League and have bought four or five good players. “I

think we are very close but at the moment they are above us.” City

have again added to their squad over the summer, most notably by

paying a club record £38million for Argentina forward Sergio

Aguero. Defenders Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic have also been

recruited along with goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon. United manager

Sir Alex Ferguson says he welcomes City’s challenge because it

prevents him becoming complacent. Ferguson, who himself has signed

three players over the summer, said: “I thought maybe they would

spend more this summer and that may still happen – they may still

sign a couple more players. “We get this almost every year when

clubs around about us buy, and that’s how you view the importance

of winning the league these days. “Chelsea had this great spell of

buying when Jose [Mourinho] first went there and we accepted that

challenge. “It’s good to accept challenges, it keeps the

complacency away from your door and we carry on as best as we can.”

In terms of Sunday’s encounter, Ferguson is likely to make his team

selection based around planning for the start of the Premier League

season next week. He told a news conference at United’s training

ground: “I have always viewed the Community Shield as a stepping

stone to the first game of the season. “It’s very easy to get

emotional about this type of game but I don’t think we will be

changing our policy.” City will start with Aguero on the bench

while last season’s top scorer and talisman Carlos Tevez is still

on leave following Argentina’s Copa America campaign. That

situation has done little to quell speculation over the

27-year-old’s future. Mancini said: “We said he needed to come back

on August 5 with Zaba [Pablo Zabaletta] but it was my mistake

because I told him come back on August 8. “Carlos comes back on

Monday because he has 21 days after the Copa America.”