Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini wary of returning Sunderland winger Adam Johnson

 

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini knows Adam Johnson can make life difficult for his side as he returns to the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

Mancini often tipped Johnson for big things after signing him for £7million in 2010 but the winger grew frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities and joined Sunderland in August.

The 25-year-old spoke of his frustration and of difficulties with Mancini after making the £10million move from the Barclays Premier League champions back to his native north east.

The England international will now get the chance to show City what they have lost as the Wearsiders visit Eastlands for a Saturday lunchtime fixture.

Mancini said: "I think Adam played well here.

"The problem was maybe that he didn't play always. For young players like him it is important to play every game.

"I am sure he will do well for Sunderland and go to another top team because he deserves this. He is a good guy and a good player.

"I hope he can have a good game on Saturday because I like Adam, I think he is a really good player.

"He wanted to play every game and here it was difficult, he decided to leave."

City were well aware of the problems Sunderland can pose even before they signed Johnson.

Last season the Black Cats did more than any other side to derail City's title bid, beating them at the Stadium of Light and then claiming a draw at Eastlands.

They were in fact only five minutes from winning that second game as well, but two late goals saw the hosts snatch a point in a 3-3 thriller in March.

Mancini said: "It is very difficult because every time Sunderland play against us they play a fantastic game.

"Last year the point we got against Sunderland after we were 3-1 down with five minutes to go, and we equalised in the end with (Aleksandar) Kolarov, was an important point in the league.

"I think we need to remember that game. It is important we get three points but it will be a tough game. We need to play well."

Mancini is not happy to be in action so early in the weekend programme after featuring in the Champions League on Wednesday.

City played out a pulsating 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund and the Italian does not feel the time between games is sufficient.

He said: "Now we need to recover very well because we play Saturday 12.45 - I don't understand this.

"It is incredible that we play Wednesday night and now have two days and 12 hours to recover very well.

"We didn't play a very good game but we lost a lot of energy in the game and we need to recover.

"Everywhere (else) the team that plays in the Champions League plays three days or four days before the game and then after, three days minimum to play another game. Here, this is strange."

Mancini must lift the mood after the Dortmund encounter, which left City with just a point from their opening two games in Champions League Group D.

That is the same position they were in at the same stage last season, when they failed to qualify from their group.

The defensive performance was also a concern with City indebted to the brilliant Joe Hart for making several world-class saves to keep the Germans at bay.

City then only claimed a draw after Balotelli tucked home a controversial last-minute penalty.

Mancini said: "It is finished now, this game. We have two days to recover for the next game.

"Last year Sunderland took four points against us and it is important we know this will be a tough game."

Mancini could restore England international Joleon Lescott in central defence having left him on the bench - not for the first time in a key fixture this season - on Wednesday.

Mancini said: "We play another game in two days and now we have four or five players fresh. Joleon is an important player for us."

PA

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
News
In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
people
News
i100
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?