Roberto Mancini admitted his team were fortunate to beat Wigan Athletic at a windswept Etihad Stadium.
Carlos Tevez bagged a late winner for the off-colour Blues who had been forced to defend stoutly against relegation-threatened Latics and Mancini acknowledged the slightly fortuitous victory, though suggested fatigue had played its part.
“Wigan played very well tonight and whenever we play them, it is always a very difficult game,” said Mancini.
“For 60 minutes they were the better team but after that, we improved and created three or four chances to score.
It is only three days since the semi-final and the players who played against Chelsea expended lot of energy and it showed
“But credit to Wigan. They play good football and have a very good manager in Roberto Martinez – for this reason, I believe they will stay up.”
Mancini was pleased with Micah Richards’ return to first-team action, but says the defender has more hard work ahead of him in the next few weeks.
“Micah played well for 70 minutes but then he tired which is only natural after six months out,” he said.
“He has to continue to work hard in training because he’s been out for a long time and it takes time to build stamina and fitness up again but I was pleased with his performance.
“Carlos also did very well, worked hard and scored a very good goal so I am happy for him.”
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was disappointed with the result and believes his team should have taken at least one of the four excellent opportunities they created.
“We didn’t take our chances and that’s all I’m unhappy with,” he said. “Not many teams in the last few years have come to the Etihad and created so many good chances to score and if we do that in every game, we should achieve our aim.
I’m very proud of our performance and my players deserve huge credit – City couldn’t handle our movement at times and we defended well, kept the ball and posed a real threat
“We have been working very hard to come to places like this and play the way we did so this is a big turning point for us. We just need that strong mentality to take the chances when they come.”