Roberto Mancini says January key to Man City title hopes

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says the title will be "difficult to lose" if they perform well in January without Yaya Toure.

Yaya and Kolo Toure are both likely to be involved in the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.

"We will probably lose an important man for one month at a crucial moment," said Mancini.

"For this reason I think if we do well in January, and we are top after January, it will be difficult to lose."

He added: "We have done well but the season is long. Now we have two difficult games against Chelsea and Arsenal.

City's possible quadruple?

  • Premier League - currently five points clear at the top
  • Europa League - in the last 32
  • FA Cup - face Manchester United in the third round
  • Carling Cup - meet Liverpool in the semi-final

"I have said before that the next two months will be important months. Yaya is an important player for us - we don't have any other players like Yaya."

Mancini believes his side are capable of winning two trophies this season. City are currently five points clear of Manchester United in the Premier League but will join United in the Europa League after Christmas following the pair's elimination from the Champions League .

"I am sure we will improve, but it is important to finish well this year," Mancini said.

"When I say finish well this year, I mean to maybe win two trophies."

Mancini saw his side beat Bayern Munich 2-0  on Wednesday night but Napoli's win at Villarreal ensured that the Italians qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League alongside Bayern.

City are in the last four of the Carling Cup  and also have a chance of defending the FA Cup, but face a tough test in the third round after being drawn against Sir Alex Ferguson's United. 

Mancini is confident of an improved display in the Champions League next season - should they qualify - but is keen to move on.

He said: "We are disappointed, that is normal.

"We wanted to go into the second stage and now we can do nothing.

City's defeats this season

"It is my opinion next year, that if we play Champions League, we will do better.

"But the Premier League is the priority. We also have the Europa League, FA Cup, Carling Cup. I think that if we are lucky with not a lot of injuries in the future we have a team that can play in all competitions."

City face Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday evening and, with Andre Villas-Boas's side progressing in Europe in midweek  , Mancini is expecting a stern examination of his team's unbeaten league start.

Mancini said: "Andre Villas-Boas is a good manager. I think when you arrive with a new team you need time.

"It's difficult to change everything in two or three months, it's impossible. Chelsea have proved in the last three or four weeks that they are a fantastic team with important players.

"The [Chelsea game] will be a tough game. They are in good form. We know it's a difficult game."