Man City keep believing, but time is running out for Villa
Roberto Mancini refuses to give up on title as narrow win leaves Villa close to the edge
Aston Villa 0 Manchester City 1. Jose Mourinho, in town with Real Madrid, may think that Manchester United have already won the Premier League, but Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is not so sure. He still clings to the hope that his team can overhaul their local rivals to retain the title after seeing them beat struggling Aston Villa.
Last night's narrow 1-0 victory, courtesy of a Carlos Tevez strike just before half-time, leaves City 12 points behind United with just ten games to go.
"Keep on winning and you never know, this is football," said Mancini, who pointed out that City came from behind last season, and overturned an eight-point gap in the last six games of the season.
However, few believe United will slip up as badly this season and the result could have more significance for City's efforts to hold on to second position in the table, as the result puts them five points clear of Spurs in third.
"It was not a performance to leave Manchester United fearing another dramatic fightback from their rivals in the title race," said The Times. "But Roberto Mancini can at least continue to look upwards, as opposed to over his shoulder at the advancing steam train that is Tottenham Hotspur."
But what of Villa? They remain third from bottom in the Premier League an on course for relegation after this latest defeat.
"Paul Lambert's side once more proved they have the energy and guts to give anyone a game on their own patch. It is just in terms of discipline, experience and quality where they fall short," said the Daily Mail, as it damned the Midlanders with faint praise.
The Guardian notes that while City were "by far the more accomplished side" the match was decided on an error, when defender Ciaran Clark was caught in possession and City took advantage to score.
Attention for Villa now turns to their next two games, against fellow strugglers Reading and QPR, which "could go a long way to deciding whether Villa, who remain 18th, will survive". ·