Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has rejected claims that his team's hopes of victory in next week's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley have been boosted by the suspension of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
The FA confirmed on Thursday that Rooney will miss the April 16 clash after it upheld a two-match suspension for his foul-mouthed outburst at West Ham last weekend.
Rooney has declared himself "gutted" to miss the match, with Mancini claiming it would be better if the United star was available for such a showpiece occasion.
However, despite the Rooney's recent return to form and excellent record against City - he scored a sensational overhead kick to settle the last meeting between the derby rivals in February and netted the last-minute goal to send United to the Carling Cup final last term - Mancini has denied City have cause to celebrate Rooney's absence.
"I don't think it improves our chances," said Mancini. "We know Rooney can change a game in any moment like at Old Trafford where we deserved at least a draw. But the team is important.
"When there are important games it is better all the good players play but at the start of the season Rooney did not play and United were a strong team."
Meanwhile, Rooney is convinced he is being made a scapegoat by the FA. "I am not the first player to have sworn on TV and I won't be the last," he said. "Unlike others who have been caught swearing on camera, I apologised immediately. And yet I am the only person banned for swearing. That doesn't seem right."