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We can avenge derby heartbreak, says boss

Pressconf1

Pressconf1

Roberto Mancini is confident that City can overcome last season's heartbreaking late defeats when derby battle is rejoined on Wednesday night.

The Blues were subjected to the agony of seeing United score in the dying seconds on three occasions in 2009/10 - twice on Mancini's watch - but the boss is now calling on the side to remember that they are a match for their local rivals.

United put on another late, late show to snatch a win at home to Wolves last weekend and Mancini wants his side to show a similar steely resolve in tomorrow night's sell-out showpiece.

"They know now we are a strong team, the situation has changed," the Manager declared at a packed pre-match press conference on Tuesday morning. "We have great respect for them, but we know we can be better than them now. It should be a good game.

"We played at the same level over the last few derbies, and we only lost in the last minute. That's important to remember, but we are a different team this season. There are two good squads for tomorrow night, so anything could happen.

"United play to the last second, they beat Wolves late because they have a strong mentality. They have won a lot of trophies, and that is what happens when you win over a long time. But we matched them last season and we have to remember that."

With City snapping at the heels of the teams just above them in the table, there is an added dimension to the result on Wednesday, but Mancini is trying to keep the focus on United and not on how the game could affect the title race.

He added, "It's a long season, the Premier League is difficult but it is important that we stay in the group around the second and third position. If we can be there near United and Chelsea in January and February, then we have a chance but at the moment we can only think game after game. But for now we can only think about United."

Mario Balotelli is out of the derby due to his red card on Sunday, and Emmanuel Adebayor picked up a slight calf injury in training on Monday, but Mancini reported no other fitness concerns.

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