Mancini keen to complete squad

MANCHESTER - Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has not completed the squad he needs to challenge for the Premier League title and was on Friday desperate to do so before his side kick off their campaign in three days' time.

Even the alarm on his wristwatch was beeping loudly as if to stress the point that time was running out to sign France forward Samir Nasri from Arsenal before Monday's home opener against Swansea City.

Mancini has made no secret of his desire to sign Nasri, breaking an unwritten rule last month of not naming transfer targets, and while he did not mention him by name at Friday's news conference, the questions he faced were all about him.

"We have not completed our team and I hope that we can do this very very quickly because we need other players," the Italian said.

"I think that the club is still working on this [Nasri deal], it is not easy... it is important we can complete our team very quickly in the next days and next week because the first games are very important.

"I think that if we complete our squad... I think we can fight for the title this year."

He was frustrated that an agreement had not been reached earlier, saying he preferred players to arrive before the season so that they had more time to prepare with their team mates.

"When we have a target for two or three months, it is important that this player can arrive," he said. "It was important to have this player in July, when we worked with the team, now maybe it will be difficult because we need time."

While bringing in one player is taking some time, the possible sale of another is also dragging on with Mancini saying there had been no new approaches for unsettled striker Carlos Tevez.

REALITY CHECK

Argentine Tevez, keen to leave because of homesickness, returned to training this week after a holiday following the Copa America. He had been set to move to Corinthians but the Brazilian club pulled the plug on the deal last month.

"I think that we should wait these two weeks until the end of the month [when the transfer window closes], it is difficult that he can leave... because at the moment Carlos is here and there isn't a team that wants to take him," Mancini said.

"I am happy if he stays."

The path had seemingly been paved for Tevez's departure with the club signing Argentina striker Sergio Aguero, seen as a natural replacement for his compatriot.

The 23-year-old may have to wait for his debut, though, with Mancini saying he was not yet ready for a full game.

Big-spending City made a major breakthrough last season by winning the FA Cup, their first trophy for 35 years, and are now widely viewed as serious contenders for a first league title since 1968.

They were, however, given a reality check last Sunday when they let slip a two-goal lead to lost 3-2 to neighbours Manchester United in the season-opening Community Shield at Wembley.

Mancini refused to read to much into that, saying it was a learning exercise.

"I think it is important that we were in the match always, we were 2-0. It is important for us that we understand why we lost this game."