LONDON - Roberto Mancini insists Manchester City are still firmly in the English Premier League title race after the champions closed the gap on leaders Manchester United to seven points with a crucial 2-0 win at Arsenal.
Mancini's side couldn't afford to leave north London empty-handed on Sunday after United moved 10 points clear with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool earlier in the day.
And they took the points, ending a wait of almost 38 years for a league win at Arsenal in the process, thanks to first-half goals from James Milner and Edin Dzeko after Gunners' defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off for a professional foul on Dzeko, who missed the resulting penalty.
City still have a significant amount of work to do to overhaul United, but boss Mancini believes the memory of last season's dramatic title triumph will convince his players they can catch their bitter rivals.
"United are really strong and, in this moment, they are playing very well, but the season is long. It is important for us to be close to them at the end," Mancini said.
"We had some pressure (to win at Arsenal), but seven, eight or nine points doesn't change much.
"It is difficult to emulate last season but sometimes it can happen. I don't think we deserve to be seven points behind, but we are there and we need to play well.
"We have to keep strong if we want to have another chance," Mancini said.