Sunday July 7 2013
Mancini on City, Champions and Italy

Roberto Mancini made his Champions League predictions, warned Manchester City about their European ambitions and admitted he’d like to be Italy Coach.

The tactician is currently out of work after he was fired by City and spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Have I heard from the club? When a story is over, it’s over. City are improving, as a few years ago they weren’t even in the Premier League, but they won it with me,” said Mancio.

“In the Champions League we had the toughest group. Now they have lost two important men, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.

“I’d say Manchester City are a bit like Juventus – they’re growing, but are still a bit behind the big European clubs. To win the Champions League you need experience and the right squad. There aren’t many games, so if you get two wrong then you’re out of the running.

“I do not agree with those who say German or even English clubs are dominant in Europe. The Germans do have the benefit of a long winter break to rest, while the English lose intensity as time goes on because they never stop playing.

“Bayern Munich are the team to beat, as they are full of stars, solid at the back and strong on the counter-attack.

“I still consider Barcelona to be the strongest team, though. Obviously you can’t win every year. Andres Iniesta is one of the best in the world, the players never give the ball away and the directors did well to understand Neymar was needed. Can you imagine the strike pairing of Leo Messi and Neymar?”

Juventus have reinforced with Tevez and Fernando Llorente this summer, so are targeting more than the Champions League quarter-finals.

“They could win the trophy, but are still a step behind right now. You don’t have to worry about Tevez, as he is not a hot-head.

“Can Balotelli become a star? It depends only on him,” continued Mancini. “If Mario focuses only on playing then he can be among the best, but he gets distracted by more or less everything.”

Mancio is now considering his options for the future and admits he’s intrigued by the idea of replacing Cesare Prandelli on the Italy bench.

“I’d like that. It is tougher to be Coach of a national team, because you don’t have the players all year round. I will just say this: I won’t stay without a job for long. I could’ve started right away, but I preferred to take a break. I needed it, mentally as well as physically.”

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