Roberto Mancini: Newcastle game tougher than Manchester derby

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says his team's crucial trip to Newcastle on Sunday is a tougher game than last Monday's Manchester derby.

City beat United 1-0 to move ahead of their title rivals on goal difference, while Newcastle lifted their Champions League hopes by beating Chelsea 2-0.

"I think this game will be more difficult for us," said Mancini.

"The United game was at home and we played very well to win but Newcastle is away and I think it will be harder."

Race for the title

  • Manchester City: Newcastle (A, Sunday), QPR (H, 13 May)
  • Manchester United: Swansea (H, Sunday), Sunderland (A, 13 May)

In the penultimate round of Premier League matches, City travel to fifth-placed Newcastle for a 1330 BST kick-off before United host Swansea, in 12th, at 1600 BST.

Mancini is particularly concerned by the threat posed by Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse, who took his haul to 13 goals in 12 league games with two superb strikes against Chelsea.

"Cisse is incredible," said Mancini. "He scored two fantastic goals against Chelsea.

"But not just him, their whole team is playing very well. They play to win in every game, they have a good mentality and for this reason I think it will be a good game on Sunday."

LAWRO'S PREDICTION

"Manchester City will give ultimate respect to Newcastle and will see what they have got in the first half an hour before they start to turn the screw."

Although still reluctant to talk up his team's chances of winning their first title since 1968, Mancini admitted he was proud of the way they had fought back into contention in recent weeks.

"I am happy that we are here and we have this chance after being eight points behind United," he said.

"This is very important because now we have a big chance. In the end, nothing has changed.

"We still have two games to go and in football anything can happen. You can lose or win. But the guys have worked really well and I am proud of this.

"We have an important game. The players know that they have everything in their hands."