Mancini in vow to stay and fight at Eastlands

Manager denies Juventus link and insists he has begun planning next season at City

Roberto Mancini has poured cold water on speculation that he is ready for a return to Italy – and insisted he has already started planning for next season with Manchester City.

The Italian was last week heavily linked with Juventus, who sacked Ciro Ferrara in January and appointed Alberto Zaccheroni as coach until the end of the season. With the Juventus post set to become vacant in the summer, Mancini appeared to indicate his desire to return to Serie A in an interview in his homeland.

Such talk was not entirely unsurprising, even though Mancini has steered City into fourth spot and, thus, pole position for the final place in next season's Champions League. However, the former Sampdoria star distanced himself from the Juve post after Saturday's 6-1 demolition of Burnley and has now emphasised his desire to remain at Eastlands.

"I did give an interview, but I never said I wanted to go to Juventus," Mancini said yesterday. "Manchester City is my club and I have a contract here for three and a half years.

"I am already planning for next season, which will start on 5 July when the players come back after the summer. For us it's more important that we finish well this season, and we must concentrate 100 per cent to get fourth place because we have six games that are very difficult.

"After that, we can think about the future – we already have some players in our minds who can be good for next season."

Meanwhile, the injury-plagued City midfielder Michael Johnson expects to be back for the start of pre-season training this summer. Big things were expected of Johnson when he broke into the City first team under Stuart Pearce in 2006.

However, the 22-year-old's progress has been badly affected by injury, starting with an abdominal problem that kept him on the sidelines for most of last season.

Without rediscovering top form, Johnson did at least force his way back into the first-team picture this term, only to suffer a major knee injury in training just before Christmas that ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign.

Johnson could be forgiven for allowing his fitness worries to get him down. Instead, the former England Under-21 star is buoyant again after receiving the green light to step up his recovery. And he is eager to be available again when City begin preparations for a campaign that could yet include Champions League football for the first time.

"No player wants to have to go through such a long recovery and it has just been bad luck that I have had two in a row early in my career," Johnson said.

"Having recovered from a serious injury before means that this time I am a little more experienced and can deal with the frustrations much better. It is just a matter of time, patience and hard work now. If everything goes to plan, I am looking at the start of next season to be hopefully joining in with training sessions again."

The midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim has signed a new four-year contract at the club. The 18-year-old academy graduate has broken into the first team under Mancini this season, making his debut in the 4-2 win at Scunthorpe in the FA Cup fourth round in January, and more recently appearing in the Premier League against Burnley on Saturday.

"I am really happy; I am going to enjoy the moment. It is really exciting for me," said the Norwegian. "The contract gives me time to learn my trade and push my claims. I couldn't be at a better club."

Although City have millions of pounds at their disposal and have shown plenty of willingness to spend them in the transfer market, Ibrahim believes youngsters will still be given their chance under Mancini.

"The boss has been great with me and the other lads," he said. "He's a really good coach and he believes that if you are good enough, you are old enough.

"That sends a very positive message to all the young players at the club, particularly the next group of academy players coming through."

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album