Missing out on Van Persie has hurt City, says Mancini

LONDON Tue Jan 1, 2013 5:23pm IST

Manchester United player Robin Van Persie takes a photograph during the unveiling of a statue of Manchester United's manager Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, northern England November 23, 2012. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis/Files

Manchester United player Robin Van Persie takes a photograph during the unveiling of a statue of Manchester United's manager Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, northern England November 23, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Robin van Persie's decision to join Manchester United instead of Manchester City is proving the difference in the race to the Premier League title, according to City manager Roberto Mancini.

The Dutch striker joined United from Arsenal for a reported 24 million pounds last August and his 14 goals in 20 league games have helped Alex Ferguson's team open a seven-point Premier League lead over defending champions City.

"At the moment, he is the difference between us," Mancini told local media. "He has scored 14 Premier League goals and it is clear he has changed their situation.

"We were very close three or four months before he joined United. We were sure he was for us but it didn't happen.

"We wanted Van Persie because we knew he was totally different from our other strikers. We wanted to improve our team, particularly for the Champions League. We were very close to signing him, I know what the reason was (why he opted for United) but I won't say. It was not about money."

When Van Persie, 29, joined United in the close season he said he had "listened to the little boy inside me".

"In these situations, when you have to make a hard decision in your life, I always listen to that little boy inside me. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Manchester United," he said.

With Van Persie forming a deadly partnership with Wayne Rooney, United have scored 50 goals in their first 20 games - 12 more than City, who are the league's top scorers last season having racked up 56 goals in their first 20 games.

Sergio Aguero has been in superb form for most of the season but Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli have been off-beam and Edin Dzeko has been forced to operated much of the time from the bench.

"I am happy with my strikers because last season they scored more than anyone else in the Premier League," Mancini said.

"But when you can improve your team with other top players it is important to do it. With Van Persie you can sometimes play three strikers."

City, who won 4-3 at Norwich on Saturday despite having Samir Nasri sent off, host Stoke City on Tuesday while United make the short trip to Wigan Athletic where they lost last April - their only defeat in 16 meetings.

(Editing by John Mehaffey)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Asian Games

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Indian Super League

Indian Super League

New league will lift Indian soccer, says Del Piero.  Full Article 

Bidding Adieu

Bidding Adieu

China's Li Na announces her retirement from tennis.  Full Article 

Selangor Masters

Selangor Masters

Anirban Lahiri stays ahead in Malaysia.  Full Article 

Euro 2020

Euro 2020

London's Wembley stadium to host climax of Euro 2020.  Full Article 

Generous Platini

Generous Platini

Platini plans to keep luxury gift, make charity donation.  Full Article 

F1 Radio Ban

F1 Radio Ban

Formula One revises radio ban after team talks  Full Article 

Defending Ozil

Defending Ozil

Don't make Ozil a scapegoat, warns Arsenal boss.  Full Article 

FIFA Probe

FIFA Probe

FIFA ethics judge promises secrecy in World Cup probe.  Full Article 

Singapore GP

Singapore GP

Alonso lifts Ferrari gloom in Singapore F1 practice.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage