Man City V Chelsea at Etihad Stadium - LIVE
Updated Sunday, 24th February 2013
Man City V Chelsea at Etihad Stadium - LIVE.
Mancini points finger at transfer market failings
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has revealed his frustrations at the club's failure to sign the players he wanted last summer as he prepares to face Chelsea.
City had hoped to build on last season's Barclays Premier League title success by bringing in Robin van Persie from Arsenal, but lost out to rivals Manchester United.
The champions were also linked with other big names such as Javi Martinez, Eden Hazard and Daniele di Rossi but instead brought in Jack Rodwell, Matija Nastasic, Maicon, Scott Sinclair and Javi Garcia to mixed success.
With City now trailing United by 12 points at the top of table with 12 games remaining, their hopes of retaining the title are fading and it could be argued what happened last summer cost them.
Mancini told The Guardian: "It's important to realise we have made some mistakes. I have made some mistakes and the players have made some mistakes.
"But the first reason is because we didn't do what we should have done in the summer transfer market - we worked really badly in the market."
Mancini's words could be interpreted as criticism of Brian Marwood, the club's former sporting director who has since switched to a role in charge of the Academy. He expects better recruitment this summer following the arrival of former Barcelona figureheads Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain as chief executive and director of football respectively.
He said: "Ferran came from Barcelona and understands what it needs to be a top club. Txiki played football and knows football. They are good men. For this reason, I am optimistic about our future. We now have people who know their football."
Strikers Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao of Napoli and Atletico Madrid respectively could be among City's targets this summer and Mancini admires them both.
He said: "Cavani and Falcao would work in England. They have experience. Both players are 26, 27. They are good enough to play in England."
Captain Vincent Kompany remains a doubt. The Belgium defender has missed four games with a calf injury and Mancini has conceded the problem is taking longer to heal than expected.
Midfielder Gareth Barry, who was forced out of last week's FA Cup win over Leeds with an ankle injury, will also be assessed while right-back Micah Richards (knee) remains sidelined.
Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez believes the meeting the Manchester City can be a guide to his side's targets for the season.
The Blues currently sit third in the table but know that a win at the Etihad Stadium could take them to within a point of City in second place.
Only leaders Manchester United have won at the home of the champions so far this season, but Benitez is confident his players have enough to claim all three points and set their sights on finishing in the top two.
"We have a lot of respect because City is a great team," Benitez said. "But we have to go there with confidence and if we are close I think that we can fight for being in the top two, and if not we have to fight for being in the top four.
"The priority is to win; if we win this game we will be closer but if we cannot we have to keep fighting.
"What I can see now is a team with confidence, we are confident we can beat City or anyone if we do things in the right way.
"We are creating chances in every game so I'm confident we can do it."
Frank Lampard will return to the Blues' squad. Lampard sat out the 1-1 draw with Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday evening but will be considered for the game at the Etihad Stadium.
Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic are in a similar position whilst Demba Ba also returns after being cup-tied.
Benitez confirmed a couple of his players are nursing knocks but has no fresh injury concerns with only Oriol Romeu (knee) absent