Alex Ferguson has accepted that Manchester City are set to lift the Premier League crown after their 2-0 success at Newcastle United yesterday, but Yaya Toure, scorer of both City’s goals, still insists: “It’s not finished.”
Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, believes that City’s victory means they now have “two hands on the trophy” ahead of next Sunday’s climax to the season.
City will be at home to Queens Park Rangers when a victory will ensure that they will be champions for the first time since they won the title in 1968 — by beating Newcastle 4-3 at St James’ Park.
It means City are odds-on favourites, but Toure said: “We have one hand on the trophy but we have to be careful as QPR are fighting to stay in the Premier League. It will be tough but we have one step to go. We have to continue to work hard and believe until the last game.
“I always thought I came to this club to make a story. We are not there yet at the moment but it’s important to keep going and try to help our team-mates.”
City manager Roberto Mancini paid tribute to Toure’s influence on their latest victory. “He is a fantastic player.
“He has experience of winning trophies at Barcelona and he has brought that to us. We bought him for that reason. He can play in a number of different positions is very important to us.”
City are on the brink of a triumph that Mancini maintained was out of their reach only a few weeks ago; now he will spend the next week plotting how to finish the job against QPR.
He said: “The next week will be like this week and the week before that. We cannot change anything. We’ve still got a difficult game on the last day.
“At least it doesn’t depend on Manchester United anymore, it depends on us, but we have another game. It won’t be easy because QPR are fighting against relegation.
“Maybe we are favourites now. If we beat QPR we will be champions, but we can’t think about that now, we have another game and we have to prepare very well.
“If we think we have won the championship it will be a big mistake. All the players have to keep their feet on the floor. I cannot talk about what it would mean to win the title, not until next week.
“We know the history of the club, but we can only talk about winning the title next Sunday.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is now convinced City will be crowned as champions. “The QPR game is one you would expect them to win,” he said. “If I’m honest, City are the best team we have faced this season.”
Yesterday’s defeat damaged Newcastle’s chance of figuring in the Champions League next season, but they can finish in the top four if they win at Everton on Sunday while Tottenham and Arsenal slip up.
Pardew said: “It’s a simple equation we have to win at Everton, but it may not be enough.”
Despite the defeat, Newcastle’s fans stayed behind for a lap of honour from players who held out for more than an hour and were sensing a victory before Toure struck for his first goal.
Pardew said: “It was a terrific game. You could sense it was real tight, tense affair and we had done our homework on each other. We stopped each other doing what we do well.
“One goal was going to change the face of the game. It needed a bit of quality to do that and Yaya came up with it.
“When the game opened up after the first goal, City looked at their best, but we kept them quiet until then.”
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