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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Mancini let off the hook by FA

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will escape punishment from the Football Association for his comments about referee Kevin Friend after the club's Boxing Day 1-0 defeat to Sunderland.

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The FA wrote to Mancini asking him to explain his remarks after he said that the official had eaten too much Christmas dinner.

But after studying City's response, the FA have decided not to bring any disciplinary action, which could have resulted in a fine or a touchline ban, against the Italian.

The Premier League champions had maintained all along that Mancini - who also quipped that next year City might not go back to Sunderland after suffering three successive defeats at the Stadium of Light - was only joking.

The Italian had said: "The referee ate too much for Christmas. He was not in good form. He and the linesman, I think, after Christmas, it can happen to have a bad performance like today."

City were unhappy with Friend's decision to award Adam Johnson's winner for Sunderland, believing Pablo Zabaleta had been fouled moments before.

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