FOOTBALL: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini claims there have been no nerves in the build-up to Monday's crunch derby against Manchester United.
The two heavyweight title rivals meet at Eastlands in one of the biggest and most eagerly anticipated matches in Premier League history.
With City trailing league leaders United by three points the stakes are high, but Mancini has continually played down his side's chances.
Even though victory would take City back to the top of the table, Mancini insists United would remain title favourites and so the pressure is yet to show.
The Italian said: "It is impossible to be worried for Monday yet. It is football, not work.
"Maybe Monday morning there will be pressure, but this is normal for us or for United. But not now, I don't think this."
Mancini wrote off his side's title prospects after defeat at Arsenal three weeks ago left them trailing by eight points.
He has maintained that stance since, despite his side cutting the gap with successive wins over West Brom, Norwich and Wolves while United have faltered against Wigan and Everton.
With a testing trip to Newcastle and a home clash with struggling QPR to come, Mancini says his side have the harder run-in as United play Swansea and Sunderland.
Mancini said: "Now we have this small chance but I think it is important that after Arsenal we just continue to play football.
"We have only one chance because they lost a point against Everton, but I think it will be difficult.
"They have one difficult game against us, then they have two easy games. They will probably get six points.
"It is clear if we have a chance - we want to take that chance - but I don't know."
Regardless of whether City succeed, Mancini remains proud of his side's efforts having seen them accumulate their best Premier League points tally.
City have not won the title since 1968. And for a club who were in the third tier 13 years ago while United were winning the Champions League, he feels big progress has been made.
Mancini said: "For us, I repeat, we should be proud for our season.
"We have 22 points more than Chelsea, who went to the final of the Champions League.
"We have 14 points more than Arsenal, 31 more than Liverpool and they are another top team."
Despite his protestations about United retaining the upper hand, Mancini insists his side will fight to the end after giving everything in Monday's encounter.
He said: "I wait always until the end of the championship.
"We lost seven points in four games, this can happen - so also for the other team.
"When you play a difficult game at the end of the season you should be tired and you can lose a point anywhere.
"Sometimes you can lose the title in the last game or the last minute.
"But when you arrive in a final of the Champions League, Europa League or a game like this, and you play against United, you can lose.
"This is football, because you don't play against a small team."
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