Manchester City midfielder James Milner has admitted he is frustrated at simply warming the bench in recent months but claimed he would not mind if his club managed to beat title rivals Manchester United in the league title race.
The Englishman was a regular starter for City earlier in the season and played a key role in City's 6-1 hammering of United at Old Trafford. However, he has now fallen down the pecking order at the Etihad and has started only two of the club's last 10 games; he was an unused substitute in another five.
"It's frustrating, because you want to play every game. But the manager picks the team and all you can do is play as well as you can in training - and in games when you're given the chance. We've got a great squad of players and competition is high for places, but the most important thing is winning matches. As long as we're winning, that's the important thing. I'll keep working hard and contribute as much as I can," Goal.com quoted Milner as saying.
The 26 year old also said City had one of the best squads among the teams he has played for and the atmosphere at the club was great, with players from all around the globe.
"We're a close bunch of lads. It's one of the tightest dressing-rooms I've been in. As a group of players, we all get on well. We've got players from all over the world, speaking different languages, and everyone gets involved in the banter and has fun," Milner said.
"If you're in there, the lads are great. We do things together - we play golf together and we'll go out and have a meal together. That's not just the English lads or the South American lads. It's everyone together. And that's the way it's been since I've been there," he added.
Mancini's men entertain United at the Etihad on Monday night for a Manchester derby tipped as a potential title decider. If City win, they will go level on points with the Red Devils and lead the table because of a better goal difference. However, should United win, they will pull six points clear at the top and with only two games left, effectively kill the title race.
Milner, who is likely to be on the bench again on Monday, added City would surely need to be at their best if they were to beat United and take charge of the title battle.
"The derby has huge significance. You have that added excitement, pressure, will to win and the fans will be right up for it. We'll keep fighting to the end. Maybe we don't have the experience of being there as a team. But it's not over yet. We'll keep fighting and there's every chance we can still get there," the player added.