Norwich V Man City at Carrow Road - Match Preview
Updated Friday, 13th April 2012
Mancini: United have everything, we have nothing
Red Devils assistant-boss Rene Meulensteen highlighted the spirit within United's camp as the major reason for their present five-point advantage, coupled with its better balance.
Sir Alex Ferguson refused to elaborate on Meulensteen's comments, aware of their potential for riling City and offering them easy motivation ahead of their encounter with Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday.
However, rather than defend his squad, Mancini said Meulensteen was right.
"I agree with him," said the City chief. "This is why I say we can't win.
"They have big experience and a fantastic team.
"They have everything. We have nothing.
"But I am proud of my players for everything, including our mistakes.
"We are not on the moon. We are normal, like all normal people we can make mistakes."
After cutting United's lead to five points by beating West Brom on Sunday, victory at Norwich will slice further into their rivals' advantage ahead of their encounter with Aston Villa on Sunday.
However, Mancini has warned of the obvious dangers lying in wait at Carrow Road.
Mancini clearly does not see motivation or focus being a problem for the eagerly-awaited derby encounter at the Etihad Stadium on April 30.
The same cannot be said for this weekend.
"The derby is easy," he said. "We can lose it but it is not a hard game. We don't have any problem with it.
"You know when you play against United or Chelsea, your concentration is 100%.
"The problem will be against Norwich. Against Norwich you might think it is an easy game.
"But it will be really tough. They are a good team and we have only had two days to recover."
Controversial striker Mario Balotelli is again missing as he serves the second game of a three-match suspension.
City could be strengthened by the return of Yaya Toure, who missed out in midweek after picking up a knee injury in the early stages of last Sunday's defeat at Arsenal.
There is little doubt the Blues are a more formidable side when Toure is available, yet Mancini still doubts whether City can overhaul the Old Trafford outfit.
"It is very difficult," he said.
"That doesn't mean we don't want to try or we don't have a small chance to win.
"But I hope we play like we did until three or four weeks ago, not how we played against Arsenal."
Paul Lambert insists the Premier League title race will be the last thing on Norwich's minds when they face City.
The Canaries boss acknowledges his side could have a huge say on the destiny of the title, but added: "We have to win for our own sake.
"I don't go out there to do anybody else any favours. I go out there to do it for myself and the football club.
"That's the first and foremost thing in my head, to win for ourselves and that's what we'll try to do."
Norwich are still basking in the glory of Monday's shock victory at Tottenham, their performance hailed by Lambert as their best since he took charge two-and-a-half years ago.
And he declared there was even more to come from his Premier League new boys.
"You'd like to think so," he said.
"I don't want them just to rest on one game.
"You want to try to go as far as you can and the lads will be ready for Saturday.
"It's a huge, massive game for us and the good thing is they're really vibrant at the minute.
"Results do that for them."
He added: "They don't have any trepidation whatsoever.
"We know we're up against a right top side, who are still vying to try to win the league, and we're going to have to play every bit as well as we did on Monday to have a chance.
"We have to play as well, if not better, than what we did to get anything from it."
Norwich will still be without defender Zak Whitbread.
Whitbread has missed the last two matches with a calf problem and will not be risked, but Kyle Naughton returns after being ineligible for the win at parent club Tottenham.