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United slip gives City hope

The Premier League title was wide blown open once more when Manchester United dropped vital points at home to Everton. Although two goals from Wayne Rooney had established a 4-2 lead for United, Everton hit back with two late goals to level the match.

Manchester City won away to Wolves, meaning they are just three points behind United with the two sides due to meet in the Etihad Stadium at the end of April. A win for City would put them top of the Premier League.

Sir Alex Ferguson described that match as a title decider, and was dismayed by his team’s defending against Everton. "A throw-away, an absolute giveaway," Ferguson said. "I can't believe it."

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, having already conceded the title to United, now had to de-concede it. He was reluctant to do so, unwilling to admit that City have a fighting chance. "I don't think they have pressure," he said about United, "because they are used to it every year. For us, it's different because it's the first time. At the moment, we don't have any pressure because we are not expected to win.

"Only one team can win this title," he added. "It's not in our hands. We have three points less. After the derby we play Newcastle who are fighting for the Champions League and QPR who are fighting relegation."

His players have always been less pessimistic than their manager. The return of Carlos Tevez to fitness might be the key ingredient when he faces his former club in the title showdown.

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