Mancini’s side are level on points with Manchester United, who travel to mid-table Sunderland, but have a superior goal difference over their neighbours. Asked if his City team could go on to dominate the league for years to come, Mancini told reporters in Manchester yesterday:

Manchester City manager Robert Mancini

“I think Manchester City now is one of the top teams in England and Europe. If Manchester City can win the title for three or four years... I don’t know but now it’s important to win the first title and a second afterwards.

It’s been a normal week, the players are very well. Maybe Saturday or Sunday they will have pressure as it’s a very important game.”