x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Mancini wary of Wolves after past encounter

Round-up: O'hara says 'ruthless' City have 'got great players in abundance'

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, has enjoyed the afterglow of last week's stunning derby triumph but now claims it counts for little.

City emphatically underlined their title credentials as they thrashed champions Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford to move five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Yet while City supporters may continue to revel in their biggest derby win since 1926, Mancini says today's meeting, at Etihad Stadium against Wolverhampton Wanderers, is his sole focus.

"The feeling is good but the game is in the past now, it is history, finished. We have to focus on [Wolverhampton] Wanderers," the Italian said. "For me it is better to win six derbies 1-0 than one 6-1.

"I think we are working very well, but if we want to become a top team for the next 20 years we cannot be happy only because we beat United 6-1. It is not important."

Mancini made 11 changes for his side's Carling Cup fourth-round win over Wolves in midweek.

Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero were given the night off but could return against the same opponents today.

Wolves, beaten 5-2 at Molineux, are also likely to field a much-changed side, but Mancini is not fooled by their poor recent form.

He said: "Every time we play against Wolves we have a problem.

"Last year we lost away and here they were down 4-3 and in the last few minutes had a good chance to go 4-4. If we don't play serious we can have a problem."

Jamie O'Hara, the Wolves midfielder, urged his teammates to quickly learn their lessons from Wednesday's defeat if they are to avoid a repeat in today's encounter.

"They have got great players in abundance," he said. "They are ruthless. They will let you play but give the ball away, or don't follow a man, and they will punish you."

Mancini refused to answer questions on misfit striker Carlos Tevez, instead praising his players' ability to keep their minds on the job in hand, despite the off-field saga.

Tevez is in understood to be considering suing Mancini for defamation of character after the Italian accused the Argentine of refusing to play at Bayern Munich last month, even though an internal club investigation only found him guilty of refusing to warm-up.

Mancini said: "I think we are in the best moment in our history, and I think our focus is only on the games and training. The other situations are not important."

He did, however, confirm that Kolo Toure, City's Ivorian defender, who has only recently returned to football following a six-month ban for a failed drugs test earlier this year, is to face an internal disciplinary hearing by the club for the same offence.