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Make my Boxing Day, Mancini tells players

Mancini Stoke1

Mancini Stoke1

Roberto Mancini is hoping for a Christmas present from his players - three more Premier League points from the tricky Boxing Day trip to West Brom.

The Blues boss has steered his team to the top of the table and would love an English title to go with the Serie A hat-trick he landed as manager of Inter Milan.

But even though he has put City in the driving seat, Mancini is already plotting for the finish line in May ... and believes the Premier League title will be won on the road.

He said: "We still have Chelsea, United, Tottenham and Liverpool to come to the Etihad Stadium, but we need to win away games as well, and we have only one point from our last two.

"I have a lot of respect for West Bromwich, and I have a lot of respect for Roy Hodgson - he is one of the best managers in Europe. I played against him when he was manager at Inter.

"I think it will be very hard because they play good football. They have had some problems but they have won their last two away games and seem to be in good form, it will be a hard match.

"We want to win because we want to stay at the top. But all games in the Premier League are difficult, we will have to play 100 per cent. We want to win always, every game. Sometimes it's possible, sometimes not.

Sometimes we meet a difficult team, but always we want to take three points if it's possible

 

The Blues boss admits he is now a convert to festive football after arriving from a European culture where the game closes down for Christmas and the New Year.

Mancini, his staff and the players will train on Christmas Day morning, eat together later then head off to an overnight hotel to prepare for the game at The Hawthorns.

Family man Roberto said: "After two years I am used to playing on Boxing Day and I'm OK with it, because I like to play football.

"I think it will be good, also for the players. In other countries at Christmas, they don't play. Here, they play always, and this will be an important match for us."

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