No regrets for Jerome Boateng over City


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The Independent Football

Former Manchester City defender Jerome Boateng has no regrets about leaving the club in the summer.

Boateng spent just a season with City before returning to his native Germany with Bayern Munich in a £12.8million deal.

Since then City have gone on to sweep almost all before them in the Barclays Premier League this season.

Although this year's Champions League campaign has been a difficult experience, City have ambitions to succeed in similar fashion in European competition but Boateng does not rue a missed opportunity.

The 23-year-old, who returns to the Etihad Stadium with Bayern tomorrow, said: "Obviously I'm very happy at Bayern.

"I wouldn't say I regret anything about last season at City.

"I made a lot of friends and it was a good experience for me."

Boateng was thought to be frustrated at being deployed at full-back by City boss Roberto Mancini but the German insists that was not the only reason he left.

He said: "There were other reasons too.

"Obviously I've played at full-back at Bayern too but centre-back is my favourite position.

"I've been asked this question a thousand times but I'm happy at the club, and it really doesn't bother me if I'm played at full-back or centre-back."

Boateng's time at City is remembered for an infamous training ground bust-up with controversial striker Mario Balotelli.

He claims too much was made of that incident and is good friends with Balotelli, who has impressed this term and scored 10 goals.

Boateng said: "It was nothing serious. That sort of thing happens at every club.

"It was a short tussle. We shook hands afterwards.

"I really like him. I hear a lot of stories about him but I know him better and see it a bit differently."

Bayern, who top Group A and have already qualified for the knockout stage, can eliminate City from the Champions League by avoiding defeat tomorrow.

City must win and hope Villarreal can secure at least a draw against Napoli to reach the last 16.

Boateng questioned the togetherness of the City squad ahead of the sides' last meeting in September, but feels the club is making good progress under Mancini.

He said: "I wouldn't say they are much different (to last season) but obviously a couple of quality players have been brought in.

"Last season they won the FA Cup and this season they are in the running for the title, although they are not doing so well in the Champions League.

"I think their coach is doing a very good job and the fans will be satisfied with that."

Bayern have travelled to Manchester without former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben and midfielder Toni Kroos, who are both suffering from flu.

Forwards Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez have also been ill but coach Jupp Heynckes is hopeful both will be fit to play.

And Heynckes insists there is no question of his team easing off.

He said: "Tomorrow's a big match between the leaders of their respective leagues - which is always a matter of prestige.

"Then there's the question of the win bonus and the UEFA ratings too, so it's an important match for Bayern."

Bayern famously knocked Manchester United out of the competition in the quarter-finals two seasons ago but have been offered the chance to train at United's Carrington complex before returning home.

Heynckes said: "After the game I like my players to warm down or work on other aspects of their game, and Manchester United have kindly offered us their facilities for that."