Mancini faces his own Italian job

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The Independent Online

Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, will tonight shake hands with his Juventus opposite number, Luigi Del Neri, and look into the eyes of man with an almost identical To Do list.

The Europa League Group A match at Eastlands is between two sides desperate for a return to happier times, two clubs keen to build a more positive image guided by two managers desperate to prove that finance can equal silverware.

With two European Cups and 27 Serie A titles among their many honours, Juventus are some way ahead of City in terms of trophies but the match-fixing scandal of 2006 delivered a blow that the Italian club are still recovering from. It is no coincidence that they have not added to that haul since.

City, on the other hand, will take any silverware going, such is the desire to end a drought extending back to the League Cup in 1976. Both Mancini and Del Neri know this competition offers a prized opportunity to prove that both are on the road to a happier place.

Del Neri has not spent anywhere near as much as Mancini has over the past 12 months but that does not mean the pressure on him is any less. Both men are developing clubs that have been on different sides of the same street – but while Juventus's task is to once again dominate that path, City's task is to be invited to walk alongside them.

"I think that we are like Juventus," Mancini said. "We want to improve, we need time. I think we are the same. We are working to the same targets – we want to improve, develop, and for this we need time and we need to work and I think we can win trophies.

"I think City and Juve are at the same level. We are both new teams, we both need time to establish ourselves. Juventus invested big this summer. It is difficult for Juventus and any Italian clubs to invest, with how things are at the moment. But even though City have spent, don't forget we need to build everything.

"Juventus have a history which can't be scrubbed out just because they spent a period in Serie B. City have all sorts of things to build as well as a team."

One man who has a perspective on both is the midfielder Patrick Vieira who joined Juventus from Arsenal in 2005 before joining Internazionale a year later. The Frenchman has played just 17 games for City since returning to the Premier League in January and admitted he is frustrated at the moment with his lack of opportunity.

Yet at least he is being kept busy this week by considering what City need to do to be able to consider themselves among a European elite in which he considers his former club to be, despite their recent dip. "It's really important for the future that we win silverware this year – it doesn't matter what we win," Vieira said. "We have to win something because then we can start to build a football club with a winning mentality. That starts in the office and goes right through to the pitch. It goes through every level.

"We want to go as far as we can – why not win it? I firmly believe we are strong enough to win it. It will be tough but we are strong enough to do it."

Manchester City (possible): Hart; Zabaleta, Touré, Kompany, Boateng; Vieira, Barry; Milner, Silva, Johnson; Tevez.

Juventus (possible): Manninger; Motta, Bonucci, Chiellini, Grygera;Krasic, Sissoko, Marchisio, Pepe; Iaquinta, Del Piero

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