Roberto Mancini has stressed the importance of resting players to ensure Manchester City secure fourth spot in the English Premier League.
City host relegation battlers Wigan on Saturday – their second game in three days – and Mancini gladly took the opportunity to rest players in the FA Cup victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday.
“For me it is important I must try to rest some players, (Edin) Dzeko, and Carlos (Tevez) for 60 minutes. I need to try to rest some players because it is impossible to play every three days,” he said.
Villa boss Gerard Houllier has been criticised for making a large number of changes to his side but Mancini said he would have taken the same approach.
“I don’t have seven or eight players to change at the moment but if I did I would do the same,” he said.
“But now we should recall our strength for Saturday. The FA Cup (quarter-final against Reading) we play next week but before this we have important games and for us it is very important to focus on Wigan.”
“I think (Wigan boss Roberto) Martinez is a good manager. His team plays very well. Every time that we meet him we have difficulties. For this I think that it is important to have three or four fresh players because I think it will be a difficult game, but we should win.”
Chelsea and Tottenham are breathing down City’s neck and Mancini’s men cannot afford to slip up against teams lingering at the foot of the table if they are to secure Champions League qualification.
“I think we deserve to get fourth position because we have stayed there for 28 games between the first and third positions,” he said.
“But now is a key moment because we play important games and I think that if we recall all the players – if we recall also Adam Johnson – after Chelsea (in two week’s time) and after the international break and if we have all our players I think we can take the Champions League, but now we don’t have all of this.”
Mancini is hopeful Nigel De Jong can make a comeback after recovering from a ankle injury. Vincent Kompany is also expected to return from a hip complaint to bolster City’s defence.