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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 26, 2009

Mancini confident he can get best from Robinho

New Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is confident he can get mercurial Brazilian Robinho to perform more consistently.

Robinho, a £32.5 million deadline-day signing from Real Madrid in August 2008, has undoubtedly reserved his best displays for Eastlands, while away from home he has been disappointing.

Mancini believes he can succeed where his predecessor Mark Hughes failed and make the 25-year-old a more consistent player.

"We want to change this situation because we believe Robinho is a good player," said the Italian. "I think he will play well also away because he is a top player. When you are a top player you must play well home and away.

"All the City players have good character and good spirit. We can work to improve the defensive phase but I think together we can do a good job."

Mancini knows neighbours Manchester United remain the yardstick for the Barclays Premier League and has high hopes of not only emulating but overtaking Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

"United have big players and a big manager but we want to be on top and for this we must change the mentality," he said. "We must win at home and away and if we have this mentality we can change the situation. I think the players have this mentality."

Mancini insists he is not piling additional pressure on himself by setting the club the ambitious target of winning the league next season.

Former boss Mark Hughes was sacked with the club sixth in the table, with a match in hand of most of their rivals, and having reached their first major semi-final for 28 years.

That was not deemed good enough for the club's Abu Dhabi owners, who felt the Welshman was not on course to meet agreed targets.

However, the new manager has no qualms about setting lofty objectives.

"The Italian league is difficult, the Premier League is difficult," he said. "I think if we do a good job in these six months and reach the top four I think next year we can get to the top of the Premier League.

"When they started the season the target for City was the top four. The targets don't change and there are 20 games to the end of the season.

"Next year we change. We need to work always to get to the maximum. City has a good team, good players. For me it is possible.

"Inter had no [title] win in 17 years. There was pressure in the first years, yes, but after four years at Inter now I don't feel any pressure."

Mancini's first job is to sort out City's defence for the Boxing Day visit of Stoke, although he is missing key personnel.

Defenders Nedum Onuoha (calf) and Joleon Lescott (knee) are definitely out while Micah Richards (knee) is a doubt.

Striker Emmanuel Adebayor and winger Shaun Wright-Phillips (both ankle) will also face late checks.

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