Roberto Mancini intends thwarting Manchester United's quest to win a league and FA Cup double, with the Manchester City manager aiming to win the trophy and finish second to ensure "a good season".
City are 15 points behind United and, for the first time, the manager has conceded the club's defence of the title is over. City are already in the Cup semi-final and await the outcome of Monday's quarter-final between United and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. If Sir Alex Ferguson's side win they will face City at Wembley on 14 April. When it was put to Mancini that United are keen to win the Cup after a nine-year gap, he said: "I can understand this – they have a chance to win the Double. It is important for them. But it is also important for us and Chelsea."
Mancini, whose side travel to Old Trafford on Monday week for a derby in the league, stated he was not interested which club City play in the semi-final.
"No. To play against United or Chelsea is no change," he said. Yet, would knocking United out of the Cup not ease the pain of losing the championship? "I think we should be sad that we won't win the title. But if there is a team better than you then you have to accept that. After, it is important for us to win the FA Cup. Whether it is against Chelsea or United is not important."
Mancini claimed it would not be a "disaster" if City failed to finish second in the Premier League. But with Chelsea only four points behind and Tottenham Hotspur a further one, the Italian is conscious the runners-up position is not to be taken for granted. "I'm sure Chelsea and Tottenham want to take the second position and we must do our best for this reason," he said. "We want to stay there, we want to finish in second position. Disaster [if they fail to claim second]? No. But when you are in football anything can happen if you don't play well and if you don't work hard. Now I don't think this can happen, but we should pay attention."
Might there be a danger his players mentally ease off? "No, because it is also important for them to get second position because if we finish runners-up and win the FA Cup it would still have been a good season when you consider all the problems we have had this season,."
Mancini shrugged off comments made in Italy earlier in the week by Angelo Gregucci, one of his coaches, who said: "Mancini's future? I don't know. Mancini is tied to a contract, but we'll see at the end of the season." Mancini said: "Who? Angelo Gregucci? Yes, he works with us, but no, it is not true, this. It is impossible that he said this."
Mancini also hinted that Kolo Touré will still leave in the summer despite playing more regularly because of Vincent Kompany's calf injury. "I don't know at this moment," said the manager about his future. "Every player wants to play every game and for Kolo maybe that will be difficult next season, and that it is better for him to move. We can help him because Kolo is a good guy and deserves to play, and I understand this."