Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini refused to give up hope in the Premier League title race after a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.

36733 - Mancini won't give up on title dream

City are now eight points behind rivals Manchester United, who beat QPR earlier in the day, with six games remaining of the season.

"No, it's not mathematically [over], but it's clear now that it's very difficult. We have a game in three days and we will try to win. Never say never in football," Mancini told Sky Sports.

"In life until it's over you should do your best. In the end if we don't win it's probably because they [United] did better than us. It's clearly difficult [to lift the players] but we play in three days and this is good. We are a professional team, with professional players. It's important we start to win and finish the championship well."

Mancini saw striker Mario Balotelli sent off at the Emirates for two yellow cards - but he was lucky to be on the field to receive those cautions, having gone unpunished for a knee-high challenge on Alex Song in the first half.

When asked if the authorities should take a look retrospectively at the Song tackle, he said: "I hope (so)," and admitted Balotelli deserved a lengthy ban.

Mancini added of his controversial countryman: "I defend him always because Mario is a good guy, but if he doesn't change in the future he can lose all his talent.

"If he doesn't understand this, after two years I can't do anything. I hope for him that he can improve, that he can understand that he can't continue like this, for his future, for his talent. I'm very sorry for him for this."