QPR 0, MANCHESTER CITY 0
City endured a frustrating evening at Loftus Road having dominated the match but with only a point to show for it as they failed to breach QPR’s defence following a magnificent goalkeeping display by Julio Cesar which left them 4 points behind Manchester United who now have a game in hand against Southampton tomorrow.
The Brazilian ‘keeper arrived at QPR during the summer from Inter Milan after being signed by Mancini for the Italian club in 2005 and City’s manager paid his respects to a ‘keeper who denied his side a deserved win against the Premier League’s basement club.
“I bought Julio Cesar when he was young for nothing.” said Mancini, “He did very well with me at Inter. He’s one of the best ‘keepers in the world. He was incredible.”
“We deserved to win, but in football if you don’t score you can’t win.” reiterated Mancini as he bemoaned his side’s poor form in front of goal.
“We had four or five chances to score in the first half, like in the second half.
Pablo Zabaleta hit the bar with a diving header while Julio Cesar tipped a shot by Gareth Barry wide and Sergio Aguero had a goal chalked off for offside in a first half dominated by City. Adel Taraabt and Loic Remy were a constant threat on the break for the R’s in the wild and blustery conditions at Loftus Road, keeping Joe Hart on his toes despite being generally underemployed throughout the match, while David Silva was denied by Cesar at close quarters in the second half.
Mancini tried hard to look on the bright side, however and added: “We’ve lost two points tonight but we have another 14 games to go this season.”
The City manager may be tempted into a foray into the January transfer market after a deal was apparently agreed to sell Mario Balotelli to AC Milan for a fee of £19m, which could rise to £22m depending on addons. The Italian striker was due to complete a medical prior to his move.
“I think that Mario will join them tomorrow.” conceded Mancini who seemed sad to be losing a player who he had invested so much time in since he joined City two seasons ago.
“It’s a good chance for Mario to come back in Italy. We love him like a guy and like a player, we won many things with him and we are sad without him.
“He’ll miss me and I’ll miss him too, and so will the journalists!” he added with a wistful smile.
The eccentric striker might not have made a difference on the night while City’s other forwards drew a blank but Mancini will also be concerned about the temporary injury crisis in defence as City had to deploy Javi Garcia at centre half with Vincent Kompany ruled out due to a calf strain, Kolo Toure in South Africa with Ivory Coast, and with Jack Rodwell and Matija Nastasic coming back from injury.
“We only have two days until the end of the transfer window.” said Mancini. “It’s difficult to buy good players.”