Mancini: Stay calm and win
Roberto Mancini led Manchester City to the brink of their first top-flight title for 44 years but warned: We have to keep calm and carry on... winning.
The Italian went bonkers along with his backroom staff on the sidelines after Yaya Toure’s second goal sealed the deal at St James’ Park to leave Blues one win from glory.
But the Etihad chief wasted no time in getting his feet firmly back on the ground and focusing on the final-day clash against relegation-threatened QPR.
Mancini knows the time for parties and celebrations is next Sunday and not before.
There is still one final hurdle for City to clear before being crowned the Kings of English football for the first time since 1968.
Boss Mancini said: “It was an important game as without this victory it wasn’t important we beat Manchester United last Monday.
“This was always going to be difficult. Newcastle are a good team and have had a fantastic season. To win here you have to play very well and we did.
“It doesn’t depend on United any more — it depends on us.
“But we have another game. It won’t be easy because QPR are fighting against relegation.
“The players need to relax after this game, we have six days and then we have another game. It’s not finished yet.
“Maybe we are favourites now. If we beat QPR we will be champions but we can’t think about that now — we have another game and we have to prepare very well.
“We played well in the first half, we had chances to score, we controlled the ball but they defended very well.”
A month ago, arch-rivals United were EIGHT points clear and in the box seat.
But a wobble last month that saw United lose at Wigan and draw 4-4 with Everton, coupled with City winning five on the bounce, has seen the title race amazingly turned on its head.
Mancini reckons he kept calm during the bad times and said: “Ten weeks ago it was different when we were on top. It can change, this is football.
“We’ve done well all season. We had some problems a few weeks ago but we have done well again. The players have been fantastic.
“We should keep our concentration like we have done the last five weeks.
“I’m excited because we are top of the league but it’s not enough.
“If we play like we did today I think we have a fantastic chance to be champions.
“It is important for everyone, the owners, the supporters, the players, because we have worked hard. It is important for everyone.”
He added: “I always believed we would get another chance because when you are there for 28 games and you have dominated the championship, it would have been too strange not to get another chance where we could win it.
“The next week will be like this week and the week before. We cannot change anything.
“We’ve still got a difficult game against QPR on the last day.
“If we think we have won the Premier League title it will be a big mistake. All the players have to keep their feet on the floor. I cannot talk about what it would mean to win the title, not until next week.
“We know the history of the club but we can only talk about winning the title at 5pm next Sunday.”
Toure was the difference on Tyneside with his double strike capping a typically imperious and immense display.
Italian Mancini purred: “Yaya is a fantastic player but you cannot win at Newcastle if all your players do not play well.
“Yaya is an important player. He has experience and he has won trophies at Barcelona and he has brought that to us.
“We bought him for that reason. Yaya can play in a number of different positions and he’s very important to us.”
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew reckons his Champions League chasers were beaten by the best team in the country — and the champions-elect.
Pards said: “There’s a lot of criticism about the Premier League but I thought the conduct of the players on the pitch and the two staffs was exemplary.
“They conducted themselves in a great manner and we applauded them off and quite rightly.
“The whole day was a great advert for the Premier League and the best team won.
“I don’t like to say that because my team weren’t the best team but I thought it was a good day. The most important thing was we’ve brought some respect back to this club.
“Tradition and history, unveiling Sir Bobby Robson’s statue today. Some clubs haven’t got the fabric we’ve got.
“Now we’re back competing up there it must feel good to the fans.
“I really hope next year we have the same sort of season and we’re competing for a Champions League position again.
“Chelsea under Jose Mourinho looked like they were going to rule forever but they didn’t.
“It just sets the marker down for everybody else to improve and try to match it. It will be very, very difficult for a club like us but for the top clubs it’s a big challenge to win the title.”
St James’ Park chief Pardew added: “One goal was going to change the face of the game and it needed a bit of quality to do that.
“Unfortunately, Yaya Toure came up with it when we’d had a great chance before half-time.
“You’re vulnerable against City when the game opens up.
“They looked at their best when they scored. Up to that point we’d kept them very quiet.”
But thanks to Yaya Toure, Mancini’s noisy neighbours are turning up the volume. - www.thesun.co.uk