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Jan 2, 2010

Coy Roberto Mancini admits Ivan Cordoba deal is "possible"

Roberto Mancini conceded it is "possible" Manchester City will sign Inter Milan defender Ivan Cordoba following his side's 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough in the third round of the FA Cup.

• Middlesbrough 0-1 Man City

A goal from Benjani was enough for an understrength City side to beat Boro at the Riverside and secure their place in the fourth round, but the focus was on Mancini's possible transfer targets in the post-match press conference.

Inter defender Cordoba, who won three Serie A titles under Mancini, has admitted his interest in joining City in January and though the new manager was reluctant to discuss transfer policy, he did admit that the Colombian could be one of his first signings at Eastlands.

Asked immediately after the game about suggestions he is close to signing Inter Milan defender Ivan Cordoba, Mancini replied: "No, not for now. At the moment, what is important is this game and Manchester United. We are not talking about transfers. It's possible, but not now, no.

"It is important the injured players recover - [Nedum] Onuoha, [Joleon] Lescott, [Wayne] Bridge. I hope we can recall [Shaun] Wright-Phillips, Onuoha and Micah, who has a problem with his groin."

Mancini and his players headed away from a wintry Riverside Stadium, where a crowd of just 12,474 watched the game, to begin their preparations for a Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester United reflecting on a hard-fought victory.

Mancini said: "It's important. Middlesbrough played very, very well. They were under pressure in the first 20 minutes, but we scored a goal and it went well. I am very, very happy - and congratulations to our supporters that they arrived here with the weather not good. I am very happy for my players and the supporters.''

Mancini once again sported his club scarf, but later admitted he might have needed two as he reflected on a third successive victory since his arrival.

He said: "It was very cold today - I needed two scarves! When you start a new job, it is important that you start well. We have started well, but we must work hard in the next week. It is important to improve.''

Boro manager Gordon Strachan was proud of his side's performance against the odds when, having persuaded loan signing Marcus Bent to stay for another fortnight and handed 19-year-old Jonathan Franks a second start, he lost star man Adam Johnson to a recurrence of his hamstring problem and his replacement Marvin Emnes with a rib injury. The Scot will step up his efforts to strengthen his squad this week.

He said: "It needs to be done because it is not often you get a situation where at a good club, you have to ask somebody to come back for two weeks to you for a favour. That doesn't go on at too many clubs, and that's where we are at the moment. We have got a 19-year-old who just made his debut last week. We need to do something for these young ones, because we don't want to push them too early.''

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