February 3 2013
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is desperate for the Red Devils to progress in the Uefa Champions League at the expense of Real Madrid. He hopes success for United in Europe will boost his own team’s hopes of retaining the Premier League title.
United opened up a 10-point lead on Saturday over bitter rivals City, thanks to a crucial 1-0 win at Fulham following a Wayne Rooney strike.
Mancini’s side will be hoping to cut the deficit back down to seven points as they entertain Liverpool on Sunday afternoon – but the City boss believes European success for United could be pivotal in his side’s quest for the Premier Leagu title..
United face a gruelling two-leg challenge against Spanish giants Real Madrid and Mancini will be cheering on his fiercest foes in the hope that a bid for continental glory derails the Red Devils’ impressive league campaign.
He said: "Of course I will be supporting United when they take on Real Madrid.
"I might even go along to watch with a little red and white flag.
"I don't know if we can make up the gap on United but I do think they will find it a little bit harder in February and March and that is when the title might be decided. When you have 14 games left you still have a chance, because it is a long season and anything can still happen.
“When we played Real Madrid it took a lot out of us and I think United are going to find it difficult as well, because along with Barcelona [Real] are the best in the world right now."
Pundits suggested a consolation for City fans following their early exit from the Uefa Champions League, and failure to qualify for the Europa League, was that they could focus on success in domestic competition.
City look the only realistic challengers to United for this season’s title crown, with third-placed Chelsea now 16 points off the pace.
Following United’s victory at Craven Cottage on Saturday, the best price with the bookmakers on the Red Devils winning the title is 1/6, with City as high as 6/1 to retain the league championship crown.