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Feb 17, 2013

Mancini: Cup win lifts Prem hopes

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has backed Sergio Aguero to boost his side's Premier League title chase after impressing in Sunday's 4-0 FA Cup rout of Leeds United.

• Jolly: City stars repay Mancini
• Blog: Revenge served as main course
• FA Cup quarter-final draw

Aguero, 24, scored twice and provided the assist for Carlos Tevez as City booked a quarter-final clash with Barnsley, and Mancini believes the Argentine's form could help erode Manchester United's 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

"I hope Sergio will be like this from now to the end of the season," he said. "If he is, and our other strikers continue to score until the end, then I think the championship is not finished.

"In Italy we say a game like this is a 'brodino' - a starter. I hope it can happen that we start to win in the Premier League again.

"This is possible but I think we should always be confident in ourselves, even when we're 12 points behind at this moment. We lost seven points in three games, and this can happen for any team.

"But now United play a lot of games. At this moment, they deserve to stay there because they have been better than us and scored more goals than us.

"We are unlucky this year [with injuries]. Gareth Barry was nothing, but I think he will be ready for Chelsea. We hope we can recover Vinny [Vincent Kompany] for the next game. Javier [Garcia], we will see tomorrow or Tuesday, but I don't think it's big problem."

While Arsenal and Everton stumbled in the FA Cup over the weekend, City made light work of Leeds, and Mancini was happy to see them avoid an upset.

"It was important to win this game - clearly, if you score two goals in the first 20 minutes, it is easier," he said.

"The FA Cup is a difficult competition. Arsenal yesterday, Everton, other teams that play in the Premier League that went out of the competition ... if you don't play with full concentration, it is difficult.

"We started well, with good intensity, we were concentrated on this target and after that we scored four goals."

City midfielder James Milner was delighted to bounce back from the Premier League setback at Southampton last weekend.

Milner, a Leeds fan and former Elland Road player, told ESPN: "I hadn't played against them before, but once you get on the field it's just another game. It was a good atmosphere and a good result for us in the end.

"It was important we bounced back - they've knocked a few Premier League teams out of cups this season, so it was important we did a job, and we did it well."

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