Roberto Mancini is still hurting from Wednesday night’s dramatic exit from the Carling Cup but is determined to use the pain as a springboard to the rest of the season.
The Blues’ boss retained his composure despite the heartbreaking nature of City’s defeat, but now he wants to use his first experience of a Manchester derby to spur the side on both the league and FA Cup fronts.
The job of picking the squad up from the defeat at Old Trafford started straight after the game when Mancini spoke to the players.
“I told them how proud I was of how of hard they had worked,” he says. “I was happy for them in that they could not have given any more, I was angry about the final result but I told them to look to the future.
“We gave a good display and for me it was our best performance since I came here, even if it was a defeat. You can play at your best against United and still lose, but from what happened we will have the right mentality. The correct result for me was when it was 2-1 at the end of normal time, and then I thought we had a real chance of taking the tie in extra time. Sadly we lost right at the very end, which is what can always happen – that’s football!”
We gave a good display and for me it was our best performance since I came here, even if it was a defeat. You can play at your best against United and still lose, but from what happened we will have the right mentality.
The prospect of a Wembley appearance is still there with a home date in the FA Cup against Stoke a fortnight away. Before then the Blues have three chances to improve their position in the Barclays Premier League, starting with the visit of Portsmouth on Sunday, and Mancini is adamant that the end of the Carling Cup run can provide City with all the motivation they need.
“There is so much we can take out of our performances against United and into all the important games we have coming up,” he continues. “We are can still get to Wembley in the FA Cup, but we have three league games now where we must learn from what happened against United to improve our position in the table. They are all hard games coming up and we must start well against Portsmouth.”