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Transfer Rater: Nabil Fekir to Arsenal

Football Whispers

Mancini: Stoke final win a turning point

Stoke City striker Michael Owen says his side will give the Premier League champions a run for their money in the 4th Round.

Roberto Mancini renews acquaintances with Stoke in Saturday's FA Cup tie believing their meeting in the 2011 final gave Manchester City a winning mentality.

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City secured their first major trophy since 1976 at Wembley two years ago when Yaya Toure's goal defeated Tony Pulis' team.

And Mancini believes it was a vital day in City's history, turning them into trophy winners again. They have since gone on to win the Premier League last season and the Community Shield this year.

The Italian said: "When you manage a team for many years without a win, such a win is a crucial moment. It was an important moment and changed our winning mentality."

Now Mancini has set his sights on winning a double of the Premier League and the FA Cup but, with City five points behind Manchester United, he accepts it will not be easy.

He added: "Here [in this country] it is difficult to win one trophy and to win a double is hard but we will try. It would be good if we can win the double."

Mancini has vowed to play his best available side at the Britannia Stadium as part of his policy of prioritising the FA Cup.

He has won the Coppa Italia 10 times, six as a player and four as a manager, but admits many in his homeland do not take the competition as seriously, with managers often leaving their star players out.

He explained: "In Italy we used to do this. In England, the FA Cup is more important – a very important trophy. But I can understand some teams think about staying in Premier League and maybe prefer to rest some players. I can understand.

"I will always play my strongest team. When you play Saturday it is OK. In this case we have three in one week but we will always play with best team."


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