Mancini - Defence is difficult
Roberto Mancini believes defending their Premier League crown will be tougher for Man City than ending a 44-year wait for top-flight success.
Last Updated: 17/07/12 5:56pm
Roberto Mancini believes defending their Premier League crown will be tougher for Manchester City than ending a 44-year wait for top-flight success.
The Blues finally got their hands on league silverware last season, with a dramatic end to a thrilling campaign seeing them secure domestic dominance.
The challenge now facing Mancini's expensively-assembled squad is keeping their hands on the crown.
Everyone at the Etihad Stadium appreciates that they are there to be shot at and that securing back-to-back titles will require them to raise their game yet again.
"We did a good job for the last two years and I hope we can do a better one in the next five," Mancini, who has penned a new five-year contract, told City's official website.
"But we cannot rest or start thinking that because we won the title that we are the best.
"It is more difficult to win the title when you are defending champions. We start again as if from nothing, we must forget that we won the title. Every team will want to beat us and we must work harder than ever.
"I think there are four or five teams that can challenge but now, before the transfer window is closed, I think (Manchester) United and Chelsea will challenge us for the title."
Mancini has been surprisingly quite in the summer transfer window, despite admitting that he is keen to bolster his ranks, with much of his time spent playing down reports linking strike quartet Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez with moves elsewhere.
"I think such speculation is normal, we have four top strikers and all the other teams in Europe would like strikers like them," he said, before discussing Tevez in particular.
"After January last year the problems with Carlos were finished.
"He came back to Manchester and his behaviour was good. He played a lot of games and scored important goals that helped us win the title.
"Now he has started the pre-season training very well."