Mancini ready to remove banner

BY foxsports • April 18, 2011

Roberto Mancini has urged his Manchester City side to force Manchester United fans to tear down the banner they use to taunt their neighbours.

Supporters at Old Trafford never tire of reminding their city rivals of the length of their silverware drought, annually updating a banner that hangs at the Stretford End with the length of time it has been since they last won anything.

It recently ticked around to 35 years and City boss Mancini said: "They can take off this banner. We hope we can take it off this year."

City cleared a huge psychological hurdle on Saturday by reaching their first cup final since 1981 and doing so with a victory over their fiercest rivals.

Mancini said: "Our mentality will be more strong because we beat United - and United played with their best team.

"(They were) without (Wayne) Rooney, but we played without (Carlos) Tevez.

"You can win against them only if you play very strong, you play very concentrated.

"If not, it's a difficult day. They win because they have more experience.

"But now, if we work, we can arrive very, very close to them."

He added: "The final will be harder because probably we will go in the final and we are favourite.

"In 90 minutes, anything can happen. If we play with the same spirit, we can win. If not, we don't win."

If City do win the FA Cup, they will doubtless be accused of buying their way into the footballing elite.

City became the richest club in the world overnight when Sheik Mansour took them over two and a half years ago and have since embarked on an unprecedented £300million spending spree.

That investment will begin to pay off if City beat Stoke at Wembley but it will also increase resentment among supporters of other clubs, something manager Mancini insists is unjustified.

Pointing out Chelsea and United had also paid huge transfer fees in pursuit of success, Mancini argued there was more negativity towards City's spending.

He added: "Many times I've been asked about our spending but we didn't buy Cristiano Ronaldo, (Lionel) Messi. We bought young players, good players."

Mancini, who spent around £125million last summer alone, added: "All these players need to improve because it's the first year they're playing in the Barclays Premier League."

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