The Manchester City Christmas prosecco isn't quite what Roberto Mancini would have ordered. "This is very low quality eh?" he said, grinning yesterday as he toasted those who write about him with wine provided by the club. But in almost every other sense the City manager, who chalks up his third anniversary in the job this weekend, has a deep conviction that all is in order and that his course is set fair for at least three more years. He will win either the Premier League or FA Cup this spring, he predicted.
The Italian has a right to that self- belief. Only twice in his 11 full years as a manager has he failed to win silverware, the exception coming in the 2002-03 campaign when the target for Lazio was Champions League qualification, which was delivered. "I always win," he said. "I can't do nothing about this!"
The plan for the next three years is to dominate football in the way Manchester United have come to do, Mancini said. "I think that now in [the next] three years we beat our [achievements to date]. We won and I think we can continue to win in the future. For us, it is important to win a trophy every year. If we continue to do this, it will be good.
"I think we need to win more. That is very important for us in particular [to win something every season], because we started to win two years ago. It could be that in some seasons you can't win the Premier League, but if you win the FA Cup I think it's important to keep this habit."
Mancini, who said he was prepared to put Mario Balotelli's rescinded challenge to a club fine in the past, was also yesterday remembering the extraordinary press conference when he was presented as City manager by the then chief executive Garry Cook, who wilted under a cross-examination about his treatment of the sacked Mark Hughes. "I remember that it was a very good press conference! I remember all the pressure for Garry. I thought I was in the war! A battle!" he said. Three years on, he is still in the middle of one.
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