It’s an important couple of weeks for Roberto Mancini, as he aims to win silverware in the form of the FA Cup and ensure Manchester City qualify for the Champions League next season. Here’s how the Italian is feeling and where he thinks the club will be in five years time…
How important was your time at Leicester City in giving you an insight into English football so that you understood the culture when you came to manage at Manchester City?
I have very good memories from my time at Leicester but it was a very short period of time because I only stayed there for one month. After a month I had to start my career as a manager in Italy. It was a fantastic month for me as I learnt a lot about different cultures and different games and it was fantastic for me.
What are the main differences that you can identify between managing in England and managing in Italy?
In Italy your job is only with the squad and on the pitch every day. In Italy we have a sporting director and a general director who take care of decisions. Here in England the manager has everything under control for everything regarding the team.
What is the best way to manage the expectations that come from managing a top club?
I am very happy to manage here at Manchester City as it is a big challenge. I think we can become a top team in two or three years. We have improved a lot and this for me is a good squad and I am very proud to be here.
Modern football is very much a squad game. How do you manage a dressing room where you have 20 international players who want to play every game?
It is very difficult when I have to choose a first eleven because I understand the feelings that players gave when players are on the bench, it is very difficult. When you have 20 top players it is more difficult because every player is different but this is my job and when a manager chooses, he chooses the best players in the team. It is not easy when you have 20 different players in your team. You can only win if you have good players.
How important is Carlos Tevez as your captain in delivering your message and your aims on and off the pitch?
Carlos is very important for us because he is a fantastic player. We also have other important players in the dressing room. Having five or six players like Carlos or Yaya this is very important for the team.
It can be a big change for a foreign player when he has to adjust to playing in a new country and new environment. What steps can you take as a manager to help new players?
I think that in other countries it is easy but England it is very difficult for every player because the football in England is different from Italy, Spain and Germany. I think that every foreign player who comes to England needs a minimum two or three months to understand the Barclays Premier League.
Ten years ago you wrote an essay about the Trequartista. Do you think this is a role that David Silva can fulfil for Man City?
Trequartista is an important position in the team. For me David Silva is a fantastic player because his technique is incredible and he understands when is the right time to pass the ball.
What is the idea of the hill you have had built on the training ground?
The hill is important for the players. This year we have not had much time to use the hill because we have been playing every three days, but in pre-season or when we are playing once a week there are some players who like to use the hill.
It is important for any manager to set targets in both the short and long term. What are your aims for Manchester City this year?
This year our target at the start of the season was to finish in the top four and be in the Champions League. I think we deserve to achieve this because we have been at the top most of the season with United and Arsenal, always being between first and fourth position. We now have eight games until the end of the season and we will do everything to be in the Champions League next season.
What are your aims for Manchester City over the next five years?
It is very difficult to predict, in football the situation can change every five weeks. In my opinion Manchester City will be one of the top clubs in Europe in the next five years.
What would it mean to beat Manchester United in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup to help you achieve your aims?
I don’t know what will happen in the semi-final because it is very difficult to tell over just one game. When you play in such a big game like this against Manchester United anything can happen. We want to go to the final for sure, but of course so do Manchester United.
Is the Barclays Premier League in your opinion the best league in the world?
Yes. In my opinion the Barclays Premier League is the best league in Europe now because during every game the stadium is full. The players in the Premier League are the best in the world because the game is played at such a fast pace and every game is difficult for every team.