Mancini delighted with show of character after Nasri sees red
MANCHESTER City manager Roberto Mancini believes his side showed the character of champions after securing what could prove a crucial 4-3 victory with ten-men in a seven-goal thriller at Norwich.
The Blues bounced back from their defeat at Sunderland on Boxing Day to record a third win in the last four and keep leaders Manchester United within striking distance.
City got off to a great start at Carrow Road with a quickfire brace from recalled Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, which put them 2-0 up inside four minutes.
A deflected free-kick from Anthony Pilkington halved the deficit, before midfielder Samir Nasri was shown a red card for pushing his head into Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong as the pair squared up on the far touchline.
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City, though, did not buckle and extended their lead at the start of the second half with a well-taken effort from Sergio Aguero.
They then twice withstood Norwich's threatened comeback to close out the victory.
"To remain with ten players here is not easy, but I was sure we could still score goals, and we had our chances," said Mancini, who confirmed City are likely to appeal Nasri's red card which carries a three-match suspension.
"I am happy because we continued to play and did not just sit deep with our players.
"We have won two games now when we had only ten players, also at West Brom, and that should say we are a strong team. The season is long, and we still have a chance."
City remain seven points behind United, but Mancini is not reading too much into the gap just yet.
The Italian said: "At this moment, United are better than us, because they are on the top.
"But for us, it is not important to look at the table now. We need to work, win and maybe in February we will look again."
Mancini had freshened things up after their defeat at the Stadium of Light, opting for Dzeko in place of Carlos Tevez at the spearhead of the attack.
Despite walking off with the matchball, Dzeko was denied a hat-trick after his breakaway effort on 67 minutes has been officially credited as an own-goal after the ball bounced off the post and hit the back of Norwich keeper Mark Bunn before rolling into the net.