Crazy finish for a crazy season

Mancini’s command of the English language often leaves much to be desired but leave it to Manchester City’s man of the moment to produce a seven-word sentence that succinctly summed up events at the Etihad Stadium, as his team beat QPR 3-2.

“A crazy finish for a crazy season.”

The Italian became the first City manager in 44 years to place his hand on the Premier League trophy after his side scored twice in injury-time to secure the win that gave them first place ahead of Manchester United on goal difference.

“That was a crazy finish for a crazy season,” said Mancini. “I’ve never seen a final like this.

“The best team won the title. I think we played the best football, scored most goals, beat United two times. When you beat them twice, when you score more goals than them, let in less goals, then you deserve it.

“I am very proud of my players. They wanted to win this title and they worked hard for this, they were working until the last second of the last day. To beat a strong team like United is fantastic. I think it will change the history of this club and for this, we should be proud.”

Mancini was not alone in the neat soundbite department. Captain Vincent Kompany, referencing the many occasions on which United have won trophies in such dramatic circumstances, also coined a nice phrase that summed up events. “Miracles do happen in Manchester,” he said. “But on this side of the road, this time.”

Among Mancini’s many achievements, his ability to take on United manager Alex Ferguson in the realm of mind games has been particularly impressive. For many weeks, until a pivotal win at Newcastle in the penultimate game, Mancini had insisted United were overwhelming favourites and City had no hope of winning the title.

“I never believed this,” said Mancini. “I said this because I wanted to take the pressure off us for three or four games because I was sure we would have another chance before the end of the season. For us, it was important to arrive at the derby (won 1-0 by City last month) three points behind and it was important to take all the pressure off.

“We showed big character to win in this way, showed our strength, but if we want to win this title again, we need to improve. We have improved a lot this year but next year we need to improve, in the Championship, the Champions League.”

The final word belonged to match winner Sergio Aguero, however, after his 93rd minute shot clinched the championship for his club.

“I thought Mario was going to have a go himself but he just moved it on one more and it fell at my feet, and my only thought was to hit the target,” said Aguero. “It was the most important goal of my career you score a goal in the last minute to win the title, I’m not sure that is ever going to happen again.”


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