Mancini grants Pantilimon a final berth
By Football News
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said Joe Hart will miss the FA Cup final against Wigan, with Costel Pantilimon to hold his spot.
City's second-choice goalkeeper was chosen ahead of Hart in the semi-final win against Chelsea, as the Romanian conceded his first goal in the competition this season in the 2-1 victory.
And Mancini, who celebrated reaching another FA Cup final as manager of the Manchester club, said he will stick with Pantilimon for the final against Roberto Martinez's men.
"Pantilimon is there to do what he did, Costel did very well but he's a very good keeper – it's what I expected," he told the club's official website.
"He will stay, we have four weeks to think about it but I think he will play [in the final]. He's worked very well behind Joe Hart and I think for Joe that's very important."
Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero put City two goals in front in the clash at Wembley, before Demba Ba pulled a goal back for Chelsea.
Mancini won the FA Cup final with City against Stoke in 2011, and admitted his priorities have changed towards the competition after slipping behind in the Premier League title race.
He added: "We could be disappointed with the Premier League because I think we had another chance to win it if we had worked well last summer but we didn't, we made some mistakes probably.
"But now we are a good team, we go to the final and we have chance to get the second position and we have a chance to show we shouldn't be 15 points behind. I think this should be our target now."<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Chelsea interim boss Rafa Benitez said he felt his side missed out on a crucial penalty decision, when fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres looked to have had his shirt pulled back by City captain Vincent Kompany.
"I think it was a great game with two great teams. In the first-half City were better than us. But, in the second-half, especially after our substitution (Torres), we scored our goal and were on top of them. I think we deserved something more," Benitez said.
"The key part of the game was the penalty (appeal) on Torres not being given - it would have made a big difference.
"But you have to give credit to City because they are a very good team. Although this decision could have made a big difference."
Kompany said City's qualification for the Cup final showed the Etihad Stadium club were always serious contenders for silverware in the competition.
"I think anyone that participates in the FA Cup has to take it seriously and that's what we've always done, not just today but in the previous rounds as well," the Belgian said.
"It's a great competition, look at today, 90,000 fans were here and it's just amazing for us to go again and try our luck at winning the competition.
"I think this is a stadium and a pitch that will suit Wigan and it suits us as well. I expect it to be a good game because they know how to play ball and we do too. For defenders it's always a bit harder when the game is open but I do feel it's going to be a great game for the neutrals."