Roberto Mancini was left wondering what might have been after City’s impressive 2-1 win over United.
The Blues’ boss was pleased with the result and the performance, but knows that too many dropped points in games that his side perhaps should have been won means the three points were more important in the battle for second rather than the title.
“This win changes nothing because the title race is finished now, but it was vital that we won for the second position,” he said.
We proved we shouldn’t be 15 points behind, but they have been more consistent and won a lot of games whereas we probably have given away at least eight points in games we dominated and that has cost us this season
“The goal we conceded was poor but after that, we focused and didn’t take any risks. We kept the ball well and responded well after United equalised and played better than they did.
“But we are happy because we played good football and played very well which is the most important thing.”
Mancini believes the pivotal moment of the season was City’s 3-2 loss to the Reds earlier in the campaign, adding: “We deserved to win this game but we deserved to win the derby at the Etihad, too. Tonight we were the better team and won, in December we were the better team but lost – that’s football.
“We want to finish the season strongly and this win puts us seven points clear of third with a game in hand so we should be OK.
“There is still another seven games left but the gap between us and United at the end doesn’t mean very much because they could win it by one, ten or 18 points – it won’t change a thing.
“We are at least equal to United this season but they have scored more goals and I think that is the only difference this season.”
There are still tickets available to see the champions in action in their next home game on Wednesday 17 April, when Wigan Athletic will provide the opposition.
Tickets are on general sale now at www.mcfc.co.uk/tickets, by telephone on 0161 444 1894 (option 1, option 1, option 2)* and to personal callers at the Ticket Office above the City Store at the Etihad Stadium.