Gary Rowell: Let’s heap pressure on Mancini

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GOING to Man City is going to be a mighty challenge because they are still firmly in the running for the top four.

They are the richest club in the world now and their brief for this season was to get into the Champions League.

That is the next step for them and when you’ve got those sort of funds, that’s the place you have to be.

Roberto Mancini will know the owners won’t be happy with another Europa League campaign and there is pressure on them. Sunderland can use that to their advantage and make it hard for the opposition.

We can’t afford to give them anything early on like we did at Everton and hopefully it will be similar to the game at Arsenal because that type of match sometimes brings out the best in Sunderland.

When you look at our recent form with one point out of 18, that is really not good enough and there is a danger that our season tails away.

I’m not unhappy with where we are at the moment. We have been in the top 10 for most of the season now and that was what I wanted from the very start.

But from looking nailed on for a top half finish, our form has gone on a downward trajectory.

It would be great to get something at Eastlands and really kick-start us into another run.

When you look at City, they have got an abundance of talent.

For me the big danger is Carlos Tevez.

He’s one of my favourite players in the Premier League, but it’s not just his wonderful ability and goalscoring that I love about him.

He’s not too precious to close down centre-halves and full-backs, he’s happy to do the dirty work which is often the hardest part of the game.

But talking about him brings me back to the Stadium of Light when he committed the worst miss I have seen all season.

I am sure everyone there will remember him missing that astonishing chance earlier this season.

If he returns, after missing the Chelsea game through injury, he’s a real dangerman for Sunderland.

But that doesn’t mean City’s expensively assembled squad have all blended straightaway. I still feel they are searching for that right formula.

At the same time though, they are making a decent fist of it.

I fancy them to get a Champions League spot even though they are not yet a team used to winning things.

They are still searching for that first trophy which could be the most important thing to use as a launchpad.

Who knows, it might come this season with the FA Cup.

Read the full column in Tuesday’s Echo.