"Until now, United have been really lucky with everything. They have won a lot of games in the last minute - like against us when they really didn't deserve to win. So I don't think the gap between United and us is correct at this moment."
Roberto Mancini may claim that this quote is taken out of context. He may claim that he didn't actually mean that United's position at the top of the table is entirely down to fortune. However, by even suggesting the team 12 points clear are lucky, he opens himself up to ridicule.
There was another part to his quote: "They are doing better than us this season, for sure. But we have lost points in games we deserved to win, when we just couldn't score."
That, of course, is a more pertinent point. The only way United have been lucky this season is that their theoretical challengers have been so poor. Arsenal are going through an existential crisis, Spurs aren't really ready to challenge, and then we have the two teams that served up some truly turgid fare on Sunday afternoon.
For the first half at least, it was almost embarrassingly poor, with neither side displaying any serious inclination to win a game that both should have been busting their bottoms to win. City improved after the break, and those who say if that were United, we would be praising them for a champion's performance, grinding out the result etc have a point. A couple of moments of quality decided things for City, something that was too much for Rafa Benitez's side.
Here's one for you - in 180 minutes of football against Manchester City this season, Chelsea have had three shots on target. That includes the penalty that Joe Hart saved from Frank Lampard on Sunday. Frankly, that's pathetic.
The truth is that United, as has been said on this site a few times, haven't been exceptional this season, but they haven't needed to be anything close to have the title wrapped up by February. The two teams most equipped to challenge them, and teams that spent near enough £100million between them last summer, have been so ferociously mediocre that 'adequate' has been more than enough.
There are any number of reasons for this, not least the respective managers of the two clubs. The faults of Mancini and Benitez have been discussed at length before, but for both to have squads with this amount of talent and still be also-rans in the title race is ludicrous. City improved after the break on Sunday, but it was too little, too late. Chelsea couldn't even manage that.
"If United go forward in the Champions League the last two months will be hard for them," Mancini continued. "They could lose five points in two games before the derby."
Sure, they could. But would you trust City - or Chelsea - to actually make up those dropped points?
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter
Surely the difference between the two teams this season compared to last season is the availability of Kompany and Vidic?- varicoseregent