“It will be hard to win the Premier League now, but it is possible Manchester United will drop points too, in the games that remain,” he said. “We did well to come back the way we did, but we didn’t play well for most of this game.

“What we needed to do was play the way we did in the last 15 minutes – but at the start of this game – it was a strange match because it is very unusual for us to concede three goals at home.”

Mancini added his squad were deflated after the game, but predicted Blackburn will surprise everyone on Monday night when they take on Manchester.

“The players are disappointed and a little down, but only for this moment because I think United will only draw on Monday and if that happens, we’ll still only be three points behind,” he said.

“Mario didn’t have a good game today in my opinion.  In games like this we need the strikers to be the difference – not only in the final few minutes.”

“It is important we go into the Manchester derby at the end of the month only one or two points behind – if we are, we still have a very good chance – but we must recover two or three points in the games in-between.

Mancini also expressed his disappointment as Sergio Aguero’s absence for an injury he yesterday revealed was not the striker’s fault.

“If Sergio had played today we would have won this game – I’m 200 per cent certain of this and for that reason, it’s really disappointing that he couldn’t play,” he said.

“However, there is nothing we can do about that now.”


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