Speculation over Mancini’s future persists but the former Inter Milan boss himself remains confident in his position. City still have a chance to win a second FA Cup in three seasons and finish as runners-up which, last season aside, would represent a highest top-flight finish since 1977. Having gone 35 years without winning a trophy prior to 2011, the overall progress has still been considerable and Mancini maintains the club are still youngsters at such an elite level. He said: “I have said many times, we are a young team for this. It is only two years we have played for the title.” City face a crucial week as they look to take care of what unfinished business they do have remaining this term. Firstly, beating United at Old Trafford would land a psychological blow ahead of next term as well as delaying United’s seemingly inevitable crowning. Then Chelsea must be overcome in next Sunday’s Wembley semi-final to keep hopes of silverware on track. Mancini said: “We want to get the second place. We know we have another eight games to play. “Against United, away against Tottenham, we have the FA Cup semi-final – the next three weeks will be very hard because we play every three days. The next two weeks will be crucial for the second place.” Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini heads into his latest derby against Manchester United with eyes on both the present and future. Mancini is already planning for the summer and beyond after accepting defeat in the Barclays Premier League title race. United host City at Old Trafford with a 15-point lead at the top of the table and, despite form most other clubs would envy, City’s title defence has been an underwhelming one. Mancini has no doubt one of the chief reasons for that was a failure to land any of his prime targets in last summer’s transfer market and he is determined to make sure that does not happen again. The Italian said: “We want to improve our team, not like last year. Every year if you don’t improve your team it is difficult.” Press Association
Barcelona and Real Madrid maintained their 100% starts to the season with La Liga victories on Sunday.Lionel Messi notched a hat-trick in Barca’s 3-2 victory in Valencia , while Cristiano Ronaldo was on target as Real out-played Athletic Bilbao 3-1.Messi fired the visitors into a three-goal lead before Helder Postiga hit back with a brace for Valencia in the space of 50 seconds.All five goals came in an action-packed first half.Meanwhile, Isco scored twice at the Bernabeu where Ibai poached a 79th minute consolation for Bilbao.Both Spanish giants have taken nine points from their opening three games.