City can benefit from champions’ inactivity to return to the summit

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has his sights on reclaiming top spot in the Barclays Premier League this weekend after negotiating the tough obstacle of Chelsea.

Mancini’s men moved back within a point of champions and leaders Manchester United by coming from behind to beat the London club 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

Both Manchester clubs have nine games remaining – including their derby next month – but City can move back to the summit with victory at Stoke tomorrow as United are not in action again until they face Fulham at Old Trafford on Monday.

Mancini said: “I don’t know if it was a champions’ performance but we gave a very good performance in a difficult game.

“I enjoyed it like the supporters. It was really important to win.

“It was difficult because we were playing against a top team but we want to go back to the top.

“We have a very difficult game on Saturday against Stoke and this game was important for the three points.”

City made a lively start and hit the bar through Samir Nasri, but became laboured and anxious as the first half wore on. Chelsea grabbed the lead with a deflected strike from Gary Cahill on the hour, but the game tipped back in City’s favour after Mancini introduced the controversial figure of Carlos Tevez moments later.

Tevez, making his first appearance in six months following his dispute with the club, entered the field to a mostly positive response from supporters.

City levelled when Sergio Aguero converted a penalty after Michael Essien handled and Tevez then combined with Nasri to set up a winner for the impressive Frenchman five minutes from time.