Mancini: Time for fans to take down banner

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has told Manchester United fans that it’s time to take down the banner at Old Trafford that gleefully counts up the Blues’ trophy-less years.

The infamous sign, annually updated by the United faithful, currently reads 35 years, and serves as a constant reminder to City fans of their barren spell in light of United's success in recent seasons.

But after City’s 1-0 win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s men on Saturday in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley, Mancini has issued an early warning to the Red Devils' fans.

The Blues are now firm favourites to beat Stoke City and lift the FA Cup on their return to the national stadium on May 14, meaning the banner will have to be removed, or at least reset.

“I think they can take off this banner – we hope we can take it off this year," said Mancini.

“We will finish in the top four and if we win the FA Cup I think we can play for the title next season.

“United played with their best team - without Rooney, but we played without Tevez. This is important because our mentality will be more strong now because we beat United.”

Although it appears as if the hard work has been done by beating Manchester United, Mancini insists nothing has been won yet, and believes the final against Tony Pulis' Potters will be a more difficult game.

“The final will be harder because probably we will go in the final and we are favourites. In 90 minutes anything can happen. If we play with the same spirit, we can win. If not, we don’t win.”

By Matt Wilson