Mancini issues challenge to City

BY foxsports • April 10, 2011

Roberto Mancini has challenged his Manchester City players to get their just rewards at the business end of the season.

It is a big week for the Eastlands outfit - first battling Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday and then taking on arch-rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final at the weekend.

As City go for the dual aim of Champions league football next term and a first trophy since 1976, Mancini wants his players to step up and be counted.

The Italian technician told the Mail on Sunday: "We have a saying in Italy - 'there is a time you must take the fruit from the tree.'

"It means you have to get your reward for hard work. This is the moment for us to do it.

"It's normal to be tired after you work very hard for a whole year. But we have another 45 days to finish. This is the time we should push.

"We know we have to win against Liverpool but we also have a semi-final five days later.

"We need to start winning big matches."

The City boss is adamant his side can beat United at Wembley and set up a final clash with Bolton or Stoke.

He added: "There is not much of a gap between us. We were at the same level as United in our last game and all the matches with them since I arrived, except the first one when United were better than us for 20 minutes. We have deserved more in the derbies.

"United have won things for a long time and are used to playing important games.

"But we have players who have won trophies and they play to win every game. This is the start of many big games for Manchester City at Wembley."

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