According to Roberto Mancini, the Premier League champions aren’t going to repeat, placing Manchester City as the third or fourth on the list of favorites heading into the 2012-2013 season. Low confidence? Probably not. More like trying to his board into allowing him to spend a bit more money.

Believe it or not, but the club have yet to spend a pound this summer. Until Mancini gets rid of some of his very expensive strikers -Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz, he’s going to be limited, unlike the past. Daniel Agger, which still isn’t coming, isn’t the only player Mancini would like. Robin van Persie is another player who he was hoping to capture, but the block of funds kept City from being competitive for the Dutch striker.

Who’s to blame? Sporting director, Brian Marwood. United start as favourites this year. We are maybe in second, third or fourth position. When you win something it is important to improve. But you should not buy new players 10 days from the end of the window. It should be two months.

The championship finished on May 13. You needed to buy players before now. Now it is difficult because there are some teams who can’t sell their players because they don’t have time to buy anyone else. The next 20 days is very difficult in the market.

It’s also part of the lowering expectations race that managers tend to get involved with, hoping to fool fans and media into not putting too much pressure on their team. Yeah, right, Manchester City aren’t gunning for the title. Mancini is simply trying to put pressure on his board to give him the option of buying someone. Their squad was good enough last year for a last second win to grab the title. Not making any kind of change is risky, especially with Champions League aspirations as well.

But to say City aren’t the favorites? Not fooling anyone. Chelsea and Manchester United haven’t made enough positive changes and acquisitions to be considered clear front runners. Both teams have missed out on most of their targets so far. Chelsea did get Hazard, Oscar and Marin, but that may not be enough. United only added Kagawa, while losing on other bids they made. Arsenal, well, they’re Arsenal. Mancini isn’t fooling anyone, but not getting a chance to buy anyone won’t save him or help his excuses if City do fail to look as impressive as they did last year.