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Mar 28, 2013

Mancini: Title race is over

Roberto Mancini has admitted that the Premier League title race is over, but insists he plans to stay at Manchester City despite reported interest from Monaco.

• Blog: City's shared theme

City are 15 points behind league leaders Manchester United with nine games to go, and Mancini has declared that there is no chance of wiping out that deficit before the end of the season.

The Italian claimed that the race was over when his side trailed United by eight points with six games to play last term, but then saw them win the title on goal difference.

This time, though, the City boss insists there will be no such comeback, and that his team are only playing for second place and FA Cup glory now.

He said: "Yes. It's over, but this changes nothing, because we should do our best from now until the end of the season. If you can't win the title, you should play well and try to win all your games. We also have the FA Cup semi-final ahead."

When Mancini was reminded that he had made similar comments when United were set for the title last season, he said: "No, it's different this time. I don't know where we will finish this season. Chelsea are four points behind, Tottenham are five points behind, and we have another nine games. It's important we continue to keep working hard."

Mancini's own future has been the subject of speculation, with reports in Italy suggesting that Ligue 2 leaders Monaco want him to replace Claudio Ranieri.

The French club's billionaire majority shareholder Dmitry Rybololev was reportedly ready to offer the Italian a £6.8 million annual salary and a transfer budget of around £120 million to move to the principality.

But Mancini, who was believed to have held talks with Monaco last season, insists that he sees his future in Manchester.

"Monaco are, for me, one of the best teams in France, although they are now in the second division," he said. "They have a good manager and I will stay here for a long time."

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