Sunday August 18 2019
Mancini makes Serie A predictions

Roberto Mancini feels Juventus are ‘by far’ the best team in Serie A, Inter need ‘a bit of time’ to catch up with Napoli and that Milan can be ‘surprise packages’.

Mancini gave his Serie A predictions to Gazzetta dello Sport on Sunday, also passing judgment on Atalanta ahead of their Champions League debut and showing his support to Bologna boss Sinisa Mihajlovic as he continues his battle with cancer.

“It’s too early to say who will win the Scudetto, but Juventus are by far the best team,” the Italy CT told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Let’s not forget that they’ve been winning for the last eight years and have also strengthened: Inter have too, but Juventus haven’t stopped.

“I see Napoli as dangerous: they have players who have been playing together for years now, while Inter have already changed 4-5 and have lost some important players like Icardi and Perisic.

“They need a bit of time before they can be assessed, but they’re certainly improving. For now, I’m going with Juve, Napoli and Inter in that order.

“Fonseca is a good Coach: he has the Portuguese football philosophy and a brilliant idea of how to play the game.

“It’s true that Shakhtar almost always win in Ukraine, but his teams have always played good football.

“FFP is a problem for Milan: it forces you to do little on the market, even if you have to give up the Europa League.

“However, if you change Coach, having more time to train can be an advantage as you can acquire your thoughts better: Milan can be the surprise packages.

“It won’t be easy for Atalanta to establish themselves, but they have everything to succeed. And then, behind them, I see other interesting teams: Torino, Fiorentina, Bologna too.

“Sinisa will come out of his situation because he’s strong and he has the desire to do so. He’ll come out of it 100 percent.

“I hope he gets better soon so he can come and greet us at Casteldebole, where we’ll be for two days, on September 2 and 3.”

The former Inter boss was then asked whether Romelu Lukaku would make a good Mauro Icardi replacement.

“You should ask Conte why Lukaku is his perfect striker. Probably he has the qualities Conte is after: he’s powerful and sometimes works alone.

“Despite being a big man, he has good pace and of course scores goals, but I’ve only seen him play a few times. Conte knows him better.

“Icardi is a player who guarantees 20-25 goals a year: I feel bad for him and I hope this situation will be resolved soon.

“I don’t know if whoever takes him will be blessed, but I know he’s young and can still improve.

“When I wanted Dybala, who’s a great player in my opinion, I saw him as a perfect partner for Icardi.”

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