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Manchester City: Roberto Mancini Says United Are Still Favorites for EPL Title

Christopher Hall@@chriscospinsAnalyst IMay 1, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson looks on with Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini (R) prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on April 30, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City beat Manchester United on Monday to retake the Premier League lead with two games remaining.

But City boss Roberto Mancini insists that his team are still the underdogs in the championship race.

"United [are the favorites]," Mancini said after his team's 1-0 win in the derby. "They have easy games. They play against Swansea and Sunderland...We have two strong games, Newcastle and QPR. One plays for the Champions League, the other for relegation."

With those latest comments, Mancini continues the pattern of downplaying his sides title chances that he began three weeks ago as City started to close the gap with United.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team had an eight-point lead at the top of the table on April 10. Since that date, United lost against Wigan, beat Aston Villa, drew Everton and finally lost at the Etihad on Monday.

In the same stretch, City have gone undefeated and turned around a situation that looked virtually hopeless.

Mancini's team now sits atop the league thanks to their goal differential advantage over United.

Carlos Tevez's return has proved critical to City's resurgence.

The Argentinian has been scintillating since returning to the starting lineup against West Brom on April 11. Four goals and two assists in the last four games have proven enough to sweep all the player's early season drama firmly under the rug.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 30:  Carlos Tevez shakes hands with Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini (R) as he is substituted  during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on April 30, 201
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Tevez refused to enter a Champions League game against Bayern Munich in September. Mancini suspended the forward and said Tevez would never play for City again. Tevez responded by spending several months away from the team in Argentina.

But since the player's return, Tevez and Mancini seem to have repaired their relationship.

Prior to Monday's derby, Tevez said he hopes to remain at City past this season. For his part, Mancini spent last week touting his striker to score a decisive goal against United.

Whether playing mind games with his own squad or bringing the prodigal forward back into the team, Mancini has managed the stretch run masterfully so far.

City fans are hoping their manager can keep it up for just a couple more weeks.

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