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Apr 27, 2013

Mancini defends embattled Suarez

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has called for his side to end this season strongly despite conceeding the Premier League title to Manchester United

Roberto Mancini has come to the defence of under-fire Luis Suarez by saying that the Liverpool striker still deserves to be named Footballer of the Year and asking his critics: "Do you want to kill him?"

Suarez is on the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award and the winner is due to be announced on Sunday. But he is also starting a 10-game suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Anfield.

Despite that, the Manchester City manager insists the Uruguayan, who has scored 30 times this season, deserves to end up with the individual silverware.

Asked to nominate the candidate he believes deserves to win, Mancini replied: "Suarez. I don't know Suarez as a man. I know him as a player and this year he was one of the best in the Premier League.

"He did a mistake and he said sorry to everyone. He got his punishment. Do you want to kill him?"

Mancini argued that Suarez should have only been banned for five or six matches, saying the incident with Ivanovic is not worse than some of x-rated tackles.

The 48-year-old revealed he played in a game when one of his Sampdoria team-mates, the Brazilian Toninho Cerezo, was bitten by an opponent.

"I saw this in Italy," he said. "Against Pisa, a player, [Stefano] Cuoghi, bit Cerezo in the leg."

Cuoghi was given a three-match ban and Cerezo a one-match suspension for his reaction.

Meanwhile, Mancini said he would like to see a six-horse title race in the 2013-14 campaign.

He explained: "I hope that next season all the teams can improve and five or six teams will play for the title. In the last two years, only us and [Manchester] United play for the title. I hope that next season it will be Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal, that would be better for the championship."

Mancini conceded that Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who are likely to contest the Champions League final, are "too far" ahead of City now but said their dominance could be temporary.

He said: "They are too far away at this moment. If we think only about this game we are too far [behind] but football isn't like this. No-one thought Barcelona could lose 4-0 and they are also too far from Bayern Munich.

"There are some moments where some teams like Bayern and Borussia play very well and play fantastic football and maybe next year they will not play like that in the crucial moment."

Mancini argued that Bayern's excellence, along with the fact that they are signing Borussia's Mario Gotze and the possibility they could add Robert Lewandowski, shows that City need to strengthen.

He added: "Bayern Munich, the best team in this moment with Borussia, they've bought two or three players. I've read that Barca need six players. Barca! We need to add to our team."

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