Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini claims the defending champions must be prepared to spend big in the summer if they are to compete with Manchester United next season.
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Despite having one of the most expensive squads in the Premier League, Mancini believes City must improve their squad in the next transfer window or risk falling further behind their rivals.
Mancini's side head to Old Trafford on Monday 15 points behind United and although the Italian insisted the table is not a true reflection of City's season, he has urged the club's owners to make funds available ahead of next season.
"We are not like United. They have a big history and we need a lot of years to compete with this," Mancini said. "We need to improve our team every year and in the summer we need to buy the players who can make the difference, important players that can improve our team.
"We have our targets in the summer and we are already working on them. I don't know how much money we can spend but in the past United did spend a lot of money to buy important players. Now they don't need to spend £100million every year.
"United are a top team and they just need to buy one top player every year because they are strong. It is different for us. We need to do it this way and may be in the next three or four years we need only buy one player in the summer because we have a strong team.
"It is impossible to say how much we will spend. We could find a player we need to spend only £1m on. We want to spend less money if possible but every time we go to buy one player the price is high. We try to spend less but we can't."
Containing Robin van Persie will be key to City's chances of reducing United's gap atop the Premier League and Mancini has highlighted the Dutchman as the key behind the Red Devils' success.
"United improved their team and bought important players. They bought Van Persie, who has scored important goals," Mancini said. "That's why they've won this title, not because they've played better than us.
"United are a good team but Van Persie has made a difference. They have good players, they have Rooney, Nani, Valencia, six or seven good strikers, and they've bought Van Persie who has scored 23 goals in total for them.
"Last year, in the end we won on goal difference. We deserved to win the title but we won on goal difference. But if we have the same team and instead you put Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa in United's team... We made a mistake. It can happen. We can't be perfect."