MANCHESTER City manager Roberto Mancini accepts standards may have dipped this season but has no doubt FA Cup success would wrap up a good campaign. After their dramatic Barclays Premier League victory last term, City and Mancini began this term with high expectations but they have failed to build on that achievement.
That has left them chasing the consolation prizes of second place and the FA Cup, for which they play Wigan in the final at Wembley today. Mancini said: “When you start the season you want to win the best trophies or the most trophies but sometimes it is not possible. I think we did a good season but not like last season.
“I think the FA Cup is the second trophy in England after the Premier League. It is an important trophy for everyone. To play a final at Wembley is fantastic. For us it is the second final in two years. We have the chance to get another cup and we want to do a good job. We know it will be difficult.”
Given the disappointments of the title race, which ceased to be a meaningful contest in February, the excitement of the build-up to the FA Cup final has not matched that of two years ago. In 2011 there was a sense of a new adventure beginning as City chased a first trophy in 35 years, something they achieved with victory over Stoke. But Mancini is no less determined and is taking nothing for granted against a Wigan side who remain in serious relegation trouble at the bottom of the Premier League.
He said: “I don’t think in the final there is one team favourite. Against Stoke we were favourites but we had problems because Stoke played very well. I think this year will be the same. Wigan are a good team.
“I think they have a chance [to stay up] because they have another two games to stay in the Premier League.”
Mancini claims he “probably” knows his team but will not make any final decisions until the day of the game.
He has close to a full squad available with Scott Sinclair, who has undergone surgery to remove a blood clot in his shoulder, the only absentee.
Yaya Toure has declared his fitness after recent concerns over fatigue and David Silva could make his first start since suffering a hamstring injury at Manchester United a month ago.
Back-up goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon is expected to play ahead of Joe Hart, having started in all the previous rounds.