Roberto Mancini has called on his Manchester City side to start winning consistently and to not just turn in the occasional wonderful display as they did to beat Chelsea in the Premier League at the weekend.
"I think we can create a special team in six months," the City manager said last night on the eve of his side's Europa League match with Juventus at Eastlands. "We need time to improve day by day to change the mentality. We must start winning consistently. That is important."
Juventus are also a side in transition and Mancini has not ruled out the possibility of returning to Italy to coach them one day. "Why not, football is like that," he said. "I have never been an enemy of Juventus. I was a huge fan for years when I was a child so I have great respect for the club and the players. It will be a special match as it is the first time I am coaching an English team against Juventus. Obviously I miss home, as anyone would, but I am happy here. This is where I am living and working."
Mancini raised the stakes before the game by suggesting the Premier League was stronger than Serie A. "Juve and City are both new teams," he said. "We both need time to establish ourselves.
"I think the English championship is better than the Italian. They need to bring some big players back. They are not there at the moment."
There is a less confident air around the Liverpool camp as they prepare to take on the Dutch side Utrecht in the Netherlands tonight. Roy Hodgson's team were held to a 2-2 draw at Anfield by Sunderland at the weekend but they will be boosted by the news that their striker Fernando Torres is set to make his first Europa League appearance.
Steven Gerrard has not made the trip to Utrecht. The captain and defender Daniel Agger are the only two senior players left at home as Hodgson is set to name a strong team for their second Group K fixture.Reuse content