Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has admitted that it won’t be until next season that his side will be strong enough to challenge Manchester United.
Mancini saw his team book a FA Cup semi final with United to be played at Wembley next month after scraping past Championship Reading 1-0 at Eastlands.
Mancini is looking forward to what he calls a “great contest” but also acknowledges that his team have a way to go to match Manchester United over a full season.
“It is a great semi-final,” said City manager Mancini. “You could see what it meant to the fans at the end.
“We are very close with all the top squads but we need to improve more and maybe next year we will be at the same level.
“But it is important that we played a good game at Old Trafford last time and we have a chance to win, like them.”
Mancini admitted his side were fully aware of the draw before they kicked off their game against Reading, but told his players to focus on the task in hand.
“We knew the draw before the game but we had to win before we could think about the semi-final,” said Mancini.
“We are not fresh or 100 per cent at this moment but we deserved to win. We had 17 attempts on goal.”