Roberto plays with the on-off switch
- 12 April 2012 09:12
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
What a night! Hold the back pages, the title race is suddenly back on - except Roberto Mancini bowls everybody a googly by insisting that, er, it's not.
Shocked and stunned. What happened to Never say never? Basco writes in disbelief that "the incredible show of defeatism followed one of City’s best performance for months as they beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 .
"Mancini claimed he did not even know United were playing until he was told they had been beaten at full time.
"City could cut the gap to two if they beat Norwich before United play Aston Villa this weekend. The Manchester derby on April 30 will also be critical to the destiny of the title. Mancini, however, was adamant his side were not playing to catch United."
But the Mail's Ian Ladyman isn't being fooled. He insists: "Despite his peculiar comments, the Italian will welcome his players at today's warm-down with a clear message: The title race begins here."
We're inclined to agree, as will undoubtedly a certain red knight just down the road at Carrington
Roberto's quote in the Telegraph might also be a clue to his thinking: "In football, it is a very strange. When you think one thing, the opposite happens."
Or as someone else once said in more robust terms, football eh? Bloody hell.
While the manager's quotes have muddied the waters a little, media folk are delighted at the latest twist in the tale. As the Mail says on the back, with Shaun Maloney's strike whizzing past Rio Ferdinand: Goal that kept the title race ... ALIVE.
But Best Headline of the Day Award goes to good old socceramerica.com and their "Mancini poo-poos City's chances". Shades of Blackadder or Bertie Wooster (ask your dad. Or his dad).
In transfer news, the Mail thinks Adam Johnson will be a £10million target for Sunderland at the end of the season. " He has grown restless and is ready for a fresh start," they say.