FOOTBALL: Mancini happy to show a smile

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THERE was no masking Roberto Mancini’s delight at the 5-0 demolition of Aston Villa which restored Manchester City to top spot in the Premier League.

Mancini, who had worn a David Platt mask in the pre-match build-up when facing the media, said he was delighted not just with the result but with something that has changed recently.

“We have found good spirit like last year, in the last two games, something has changed in our mind,” said the City boss. “We have played well and made chances.”

Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson sat and fumed as he watched Manchester United fail to re-take top spot in the evenng game at Norwich who pulled off a shock 1-0 win.

United were without Wayne Rooney and Ferguson said: “Credit Norwich, they were fantastic. We had a lot of possession and some half-chances but it wasn’t our night.”

Meanwhile, West Brom’s remarkable rise continues and Steve Clarke’s side are now fourth and a point behind his former club Chelsea after they beat the Londoners 2-1 at the Hawthorns.

Former Millers favourite Adam Le Fondre scored twice, including a late penalty, as Reading came from behind to claim their first Premier League win of the season over Everton.

The pressure continues to mount on Mark Hughes after bottom club QPR’s 3-1 home defeat by second-bottom - and Rangers’ next assignment is at Old Trafford!

In yesterday’s solitary top flight fixture Sunderland secured only their second win with a 3-1 success at 10-man Fulham.

The two sides couldn’t be separated until Fulham defender Brede Hangeland saw red for a two-footed tackle on Lee Cattermole on the half hour mark.

Steven Fletcher managed to edge the Black Cats ahead after the break as manager Martin O’Neill side’s sought only a second win in 19 games.

Mladen Petric equalised in the 62nd minute but goals from Carlos Cuellar and Stephan Sessegnon sealed Sunderland’s second league win.

*Former Blades assistant boss Stuart McCall believes his Motherwell team’s thumping 5-1 win at Inverness in the Premier League yesterday had been on the cards for a while.

The ‘Well raced into a two-goal lead through ex-Crewe man Michael Higdon and Jamie Murphy.

Caley Thistle halved the deficit through Richie Foran two minutes into the second half but further goals by Adam Cummins, Henrik Ojamaa and former Millers loanee Omar Daley eased McCall’s men to a resounding triumph.

They moved up to fourth and McCall said such a result had been coming... “we’ve been playing well but not taking our chances,” he said.