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Mar 16, 2013

Platt hints title race is over

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini refused to face a media cross examination after his side's faint hopes of retaining their title all but disappeared with a 2-0 defeat at Everton, leaving his assistant David Platt to answer the critics.

Platt hinted that is it a matter of time before Manchester United are crowned as champions after City were beaten by a resurgent ten-man Everton.

"Nobody's been shouting from the rooftops saying that we're going to chase Manchester United down," Platt told Sky Sports. "They've got a significant points advantage over us. Even if we had won the game today it would probably have been 12 points this afternoon.

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"We have an obligation to win football matches between now and the end of the season and while it is not mathematically impossible to catch them, even when it is, we have an obligation to win football matches."

Platt confirmed the City camp were furious with referee Lee Probert's decision to award a free-kick even though Everton's Marouane Fellaini handled inside the box four minutes from time, but he admitted the Premier League champions deserved nothing from the game.

"He [Mancini] is angry, as you can imagine. He's just taking stock of the situation and is calming down himself. He doesn't want to come out and say things that might get him in trouble. We weren't really at it - all through the game we were out-worked by Everton and when you have moments in the game when you get back into it and it doesn't go for you, it's frustrating."

Everton boss David Moyes hailed his players as they recovered from the setback of losing Steven Pienaar to a red card after an hour, as he insisted he expected a response from his side after their FA Cup heartache against Wigan last weekend.

"We were very good and we have been for the majority of the season," Moyes said. "We have had one or two dips along the way, but that was more like us today.

"We were playing the champions of England, second in the league, and we were not going to be able to out pass them, out play them. When we went to ten men, we were hard to beat and hard to play through."

Moyes admitted the Fellaini handball in the closing stages should have resulted into a penalty for City, but he insisted Steven Pienaar should not have been sent off for his challenge on Javi Garcia.

On the Fellaini handball, Platt added: "You've just played it to me and it's not even on the line of the area, it's three yards inside. People can draw their own conclusions, but we didn't get it. Perhaps we could have got more out of the game if the decisions had gone for us."

Man-of-the-match Seamus Coleman confirmed the desire to 'repay the fans' after their FA Cup horror show a week before, with the Irishman suggesting the desire to bounce back from their big setback inspired their sparkling display.

"That wasn't the real Everton team last week, we just didn't turn up," Coleman said. "I think today showed what we are all about. It was so disappointing to go out of the FA Cup and we got at it this week, went out there and tried to repay the fans."

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