LONDON: Even as Manchester City assistant manager David Platt
insisted that his side are still capable of winning the Premier League,
questions over whether they can handle the title heat emerged on
So furious was Roberto Mancini
after their 1-1 draw at Stoke that the City manager refused to shake
hands with his counterpart Tony Pulis after the game and also declined
to carry out any post-match interviews.
Although Yaya Toure's equaliser hoisted his
team back to the Premier League summit on goal difference from
Manchester United, Mancini was incensed with Stoke's physical approach
to the game, which left midfielder David Silva with a cut ear after
clashing with Dean Whitehead.
'He is not happy. He's worried
he might say something that gets him in hot water. It was really about
the way the game unfolded,' said Platt of the Italian.
How the game ended was with City dropping two
points, and Toure admitted it could have been even worse after Peter
Crouch's goal of the season contender.
'I think we didn't deserve more than a draw
because Stoke played very well,' he said. 'We made ourselves a lot of
problems, but it's important to keep going and wait until Monday, to see
what United do... It's important now to not panic.'
Midfielder Gareth Barry has also challenged
his teammates to win their remaining eight games, admitting that there
is no more room for error now.
'It is important now we keep it to no more
than the three points for when we do play Manchester United,' he told
The Mirror, referring to the April 30 derby.
Tension between the two Manchester clubs has
risen in recent days, with United manager Alex Ferguson claiming that
City bringing back rebel striker Carlos Tevez smacked of desperation.
But first-team coach Platt is convinced Mancini can handle the psychological warfare and finish on top.
'What are mind games? At the end of the day
the team who win the league will be said to have won the mind games. The
be-all and end-all is about 11 players going out on the pitch and
getting results. Words don't win leagues,' he said.