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â€¢ Chelsea’s 95 points in 2005 is the current record
â€¢ Mancini confident that ‘if we get 99 we will be OK’
Roberto Mancini is targeting a record 99 points to guarantee Manchester City win their first championship since 1968.
Chelsea’s 95 points in 2005 remains the record with only Manchester United and Chelsea claiming more than 90 â€“ 91 each respectively â€“ in other seasons.
City have 66 points to lead United by two and Mancini said: “Ninety-nine â€“ if we get to that I know for sure we will win. We have 66 and there are 33 left available. I’m not good at mathematics but I know that if we get 99 we will be OK.”
Mancini also said that Mario Balotelli, who came on for the closing stages of Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League defeat at Sporting Lisbon, is in line to start every game between now and the end of the season. “Yes, I think so. When he played in Lisbon he did well for 20, 25 minutes.”
Mancini has remained a staunch supporter of the Italian despite his misdemeanours, which included visiting a strip club in Liverpool the night before the win over Bolton Wanderers.
Asked if it was not time for him to repay this faith Mancini said: “I hope so but also last Saturday against Bolton he played well. He scored, missed a few but he did well. He will enjoy [the responsibility of leading the team in the title run-in]. But I think all the players are enjoying this moment.”
Vincent Kompany is out for up to two weeks due to the calf injury he suffered against Sporting Lisbon so will miss Sunday’s trip to Swansea City but Mancini played down the groin problem picked up by Joleon Lescott in the same game. “I don’t think it’s a big problem,” he said.
Kompany’s injury offers an opportunity for Kolo TourĂ©, who believes that following his six-month ban for failing a drugs test he can now offer the team something. “I’m here for that. We have a big squad and every time the manager needs a player to come in and give his best, we have to do it. I’m more hungry than ever after the difficult time I had.”
While TourĂ© is certain City can overcome the 1-0 defeat to Sporting in the return leg next Thursday, he believes that the return of his brother, Yaya, who missed the game due to suspension will be crucial. “He’s a great player. Technically, he’s unbelievable. He can play up front, he can play at the back. He can even play in the middle.”
Kolo TourĂ© rates City and United as even favourites for the title: “It’s tough. We know United are tough because of all the experience and quality they have. To be honest, it’s 50-50. We just need to be careful. It’s going to be a great end to the season.”
Asked how City can compete with United’s experience, he said: “We have a few players who have been winning big trophies, like Yaya [with Barcelona], like David Silva, who has won the World Cup [with Spain]. We have a few players who have won trophies and we just need to transfer that into the City team.
“I think it’s a good challenge and we will see if we can do it. It’s going to be like a final for us [against Swansea]. Every game we play until the end of the season is going to be massive. We will give all against Swansea. We know it will be a difficult game, but with the quality and experience we have, we can do a good job there.”