Mancini: Chelsea will retain title

Roberto Mancini has already conceded the Premier League title to Chelsea.

Mancini’s Manchester City side tackle the champions at Eastlands tomorrow with a patched-up side containing just three fully-fit senior defenders.

It is hardly the backdrop he wanted heading into one of the key games of the campaign, and not one that was anticipated when City were spending in excess of £100million this summer.

However, according to Mancini, the result will not have an affect on where the championship ends up this season.

“Chelsea are the best team in the Premier League at the moment,” he said.

“They are probably going to win the Premier League title easily.

“They are a strong team, who have been playing together for many years.

“They have a fantastic manager and they have worked to reach this situation.”

Chelsea certainly could not have started the season in better form and have registered a perfect 15 points from their opening five games, scoring a hatful of goals in the process.

Now City must try to keep them out with a side that has been decimated.

Micah Richards has definitely been ruled out with a hamstring strain, so with Pablo Zabaleta earmarked for the right-back role, Mancini only has youngster Dedryck Boyata, plus midfielders Gareth Barry and James Milner available to fill the left-back slot if neither Joleon Lescott or Jerome Boateng are deemed to be fit enough.

Lescott has been troubled by a groin injury that has kept him out of City’s last three games, while Boateng has not featured at all since his summer move from Hamburg after aggravating a knee injury when he was accidentally struck by a in-flight meal trolley.

“Joleon has worked with us for one day. He is not ready to play 90 minutes,” said Mancini.

“Jerome has been working with us for one week. He is not ready to play 100%.

“I do not know what I am going to do just yet. I will speak with Joleon and Jerome, but if they are not available I am not sure. Maybe Boyata, but I am not sure.”

Emmanuel Adebayor should be fit enough to make the bench after a recent spell on the sidelines with a dead leg.

However, with Shaun Wright-Phillips joining Aleksander Kolarov and Mario Balotelli on the sidelines with a knee injury, Mancini cannot believe his squad has so rapidly been torn apart.

“I am disappointed we have all these injuries at the moment,” he said.

“I only have 11 players who are 100% fit.”

More in this Section

Spurs can win Premier League title next season, says MourinhoSpurs can win Premier League title next season, says Mourinho

Ladies Football revamp senior structures for 2020 - with no Leinster ChampionshipLadies Football revamp senior structures for 2020 - with no Leinster Championship

Under-fire Arsenal boss Unai Emery surprised at Mauricio Pochettino’s sackingUnder-fire Arsenal boss Unai Emery surprised at Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini plays down rivalry with Jose MourinhoWest Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini plays down rivalry with Jose Mourinho


Lifestyle

This truck serves as an excellent metaphor for what needs to happen in our education system. A colossal truck needs to barge in front of it.Secret Diary of an Irish Teacher: Time to ditch private schools

Sorting out Cork people for ages...Ask Audrey: Is it still ok to just lob the gob after 10 pints?

Nip those winter ailments in the bud with the help of garden bounty. Fiann Ó Nualláin shows you how.Have a berry merry Christmas with the help of garden bounty

Dig a planting hole around three times the size of its pot and around the same depth, loosening the soil around the hole.Your quick guide to planting trees

More From The Irish Examiner