Roberto Mancini recently spoke to The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor in what turned out to be a fascinating interview. The City boss talks at length about everything from his childhood, his time at City and his future. Here is a round up of what he had to say:
On transfer targets
Ferran came from Barcelona and understands what it needs to be a top club. Txiki played football and knows football. They are good men. For this reason, I am optimistic about our future. We now have people who know their football. We need some players and they are working on it. At this moment it’s better our focus is on the last three months but the club knows this and I know this.
I like him [Edison Cavani], but all the world wants him. There are big players. I don’t know what can happen. [Luis] Suárez plays for a top team like Liverpool. Cavani plays for Napoli. There’s [Radamel] Falcao but, again, all the managers like him. Neymar is a good player, he’s young, but I don’t know if he’s ready to play in England because the football is totally different. I think he will go to Barcelona or Madrid where the football is more technical. But Cavani and Falcao would work in England. They have experience. Both players are 26, 27. They are good enough to play in England.
I think Samir has fantastic qualities. With his quality, he should always play well. Every game he could be the difference. A player of this quality could be one of the best players in Europe. But it’s not happening.
Sometimes a player thinks it’s enough what they did the year before and doesn’t understand that every day they should improve. If you are a top player you know you can improve until the last day of your career but sometimes you get players who think it is not important to work and this is their worst mistake. Samir can do better than this year. He is a top player but he has not been playing at his level.
Listen, I believed in Joe when nobody else did. I put him in the goal when everybody thought it was impossible that he could play ahead of Shay Given, who at that time was one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. I love Joe. If not, I wouldn’t have put him in the team two years ago.
But it’s simple. If Joe continues to make mistakes, he goes on the bench. I’ve done it with Samir, [David] Silva and [Carlos]Tevez this season and it can happen with Joe. The problem is the goalkeeper makes a mistake, we have lost the game. Joe has the quality to be the best goalkeeper anywhere. He is the best goalkeeper in England but in the situation Manchester City are in, if you want to stay at the top, you need to work hard and think only about football. He needs to think only of his job and that is being a goalkeeper.
On life in Manchester
I want to continue my work. I always wanted to work in England. OK, I don’t think Manchester is Rome where there is always the sun and it’s a different type of city. The rain is a problem but do I like Manchester? Yes. I have a good feeling here. There might not be 100 restaurants but I have no problem with it. I like to go out on my bike. That’s when I do my thinking. Two or three hours on the roads. That’s when you get time and you can think without problems. I know Alderley Edge, Wilmslow, Hale. It’s nice. My wife likes it too. Sometimes we go down to London to have a look around. I like the people here because they let you walk. Sometimes they might ask for a signature but they have respect for you.
Mario not being here, that must be a big problem for the paparazzi and The Sun. I’m happy for him that he’s scoring goals for Milan now. I was sure he would score a lot because in Italy the championship is not difficult like it is in England. For the last 10 years, Italian football is only so-so. For him, it’s easier. He was born there, he knows Italian football.
I just think that Mario didn’t understand that, for him, Manchester City was a big, big chance. City in the next five to 10 years can be the top club in the world. He didn’t think about this, he didn’t think about his future. He’s a good guy. He’s not 16, true, but 22 is still young and when you’re young you make mistakes.
Mario had a difficult life when he was a child. That is a big reason why he is like he is. He was lucky because he found a good family but at 22 you don’t have life experience like someone of 35. I tried to give him everything I could. He was like my son. I’m just sorry because I think Mario could have done more for Manchester City. But we still won the league and FA Cup with him and that’s important.
I’ve always been the same. I’ve had the same mentality ever since I was playing with my friends at school. I want to win. I only want to win. I don’t like to participate at anything and not finish first.
English people and Italian people are totally different. For some English managers, whether they have won or lost, once the game is over it’s finished. For me, it’s not finished. For 24 hours if we lose the only thing in my head is: ‘Did I make mistakes? What could I have done differently? Why did we lose?’ For 24 hours my mind is working like this. I’ll get a few hours of sleep but not much. I live for football. It’s impossible for me to accept a defeat. For that 24 hours I need to understand what’s happened.
On the future
It depends on my mind. There are other positions at football clubs and I could do another job. For now, I like being a manager. I like being angry every day. I’d like to do this job until I’m 60 possibly then maybe work with a chairman somewhere.
Read the full interview for much more from Mancini by clicking here.