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Mancini concedes title improbability

9 February 2013 23:25

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has all but admitted defeat in the title race, after their catastrophic defeat away to Southampton.

The champions remained nine points behind Manchester United after a comedy of errors saw them lose 3-1 at St Mary's on Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson's league leaders will go 12 points clear if they beat Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday, and Mancini is resigned to his team losing their Premier League crown.

He told ESPN: "I think now we have a 10 percent chance maybe. I don't think that we'll recover 12 points; it will be really difficult."

Mancini also felt the performance against Southampton was one of the worst in his time at the club and bemoaned the absences of injured captain Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic.

Asked what he said to his players after the match, the Italian added: "Nothing. I think they understand that we played really badly. I think this the worst game in the last two or three years.

"We're missing Vinnie (Kompany), we're missing Nastasic, and we have some players who are not in form because they played really badly; without strength, without personality, and I'm disappointed with them."

Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino said he was impressed with Saints' ability to break down City's wealthy attack in the 'deserved' win.

"It's an important moment in my career, training this team and beating Manchester City," Pochettino told reporters after the game.

"We tried to break their ranks and stop the connection they had between their players.

"We should have got something more from the matches against Wigan, Manchester United and Everton. Today we played well and got points we deserved."

Saints goalscorer Rickie Lambert has praised his fellow team-mates following the victory, with the 30-year-old describing the showing as Southampton's best since their promotion to the Premier League last summer.

"I think that's our best performance," Lambert added. "It was absolutely superb today and we got exactly what we deserved.

"We looked for an early goal. We looked to put them under pressure early and hopefully capitalise on it, and it worked perfectly. Then we went two up which was even better."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 35 +52 80
2 35 +41 75
3 34 +56 74
4 35 +21 70
5 35 +23 69
6 35 +2 63
7 34 +16 57
8 35 +5 49
9 35 -15 46
10 35 -10 44
11 35 -13 43
12 35 -10 37
13 35 -4 36
14 34 -9 36
15 34 -14 35
16 34 -13 33
17 35 -28 32
18 35 -34 30
19 35 -42 30
20 34 -24 29

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