Mancini: Important month ahead

Published Dec. 11, 2010 1:09 p.m. ET

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes the next month will prove to be 'very, very important' in the Premier League title race.

In contrast, City do not have to tackle any of the title contenders during December and head to bottom club West Ham United on Saturday.

Victory at Upton Park would lift City level on points at the top with Arsenal, who go to Old Trafford to meet United on Monday.

Mancini admits it is a big opportunity for his team to enhance their title credentials and wants his players to focus on getting as many points as possible.

"The Premier League is very strange because there are a lot of teams within three points of each other," said Mancini. "I think this month will be very, very important for all these teams.

"And when the Champions League starts again in February, maybe that can change things. For us, the next four games will be very important.

"We have four games in this month. ­Chelsea, Arsenal and United all play each other so it's a big opportunity.


"We are not playing against those three, but we are still playing against strong teams.

"It's more important that we play well against West Ham and win if possible.

"We must look at ourselves and win these games against West Ham and then Everton. West Ham, Everton and Newcastle are very difficult games for us."