VMC European Preview: CITY v Juventus
Thursday, 30th September
On the back of City's heroic win over Carlo Ancelotti's taken-a-back Chelsea side, Mancini's outfit aim to repeat the weekend's showing against one of the biggest names in Italian football - Juventus
'Because we play the Europa League on Thursday nights we have only two days and two nights to recover, but I always put out the strongest team that I can. It was different in the Carling Cup, but now I can change two or three players. I've got more options. But I always want to put the best team on the pitch. I hope we can do a good job against Juventus and Newcastle.
'I don't think Boateng will be ready to play all the game. Juve are a strong team. They have signed a lot of players this year and like us are working every day to improve. They have been one of the top clubs in the world for years, and it will be a difficult game.
'If we win we have six points, and it is important that we go through from the group stage, but when you think that you have done the hard work with two wins, then that is when you can make a mistake. I played against Juve all my life, and supported them as a young guy, but it is not a special game for me. I want it to become a habit for us to be playing Italian squads, hopefully in the Champions League next year.'
"City is a confirmation that big names and huge expenses are not enough to obtain great results. It is clear that they are a highly respectable opponent and we must be on the alert."
"I don`t know if we have the maturity for an important success, but we do not lack quality. It is true that we don`t know each other well yet because the team is new but we are strong and we want to win.
"In recent years they tried to return to the top form and even if it is not the best Juventus it is still Juventus. The Juve which I was a part of is one of the strongest teams I ever played for and my year in Turin was a very positive experience. I don`t know how far today`s Juve is from that one but surely time is needed to have a team like that. I left after only 1 year because I did not want to play in the Serie B. I felt sorry but this is the life of a footballer. That season with Juventus was really great. A particular match for me? No, because I only spent 1 year in Turin and only Del Piero is still here."
"We know we are facing an important week but we must not think of Inter. This important match awaits us and we are approaching it with a high morale after the victory against Cagliari. We care very much about the Europa League and we want to get to the bottom of that competition. As the saying goes in such cases, we are at the ball so let`s dance!
"Tevez is an excellent player but he is not the only one. Manchester City spent a great deal this summer to try and win. We know that in these matches we conceded a great number of goals and we must improve the defensive phase. We need the right equilibrium on the field and we are working hard to learn the teachings of the coach."
Manchester City Team News:
Roberto Mancini has been boosted by the return of City new-boy Jerome Boateng who is expected to replace Dedryck Boyata at right back. Mancini has said he doesn`t think the German will be ready to play a full ninety minutes yet but I expect Jerome to make his full City debut. Joleon Lescott is once again available for selection and could return at left back but I expect him to warm the bench whilst Pablo Zabaleta plays. Micah Richards is 50/50 whilst the game appears to have come a day too early for Shaun Wright-Phillips.
The only other possible decision to be made is concerning the inclusion of Adam Johnson but it appears that Mancini thinks Silva and Johnson cannot play in the same eleven. Therefore, I`d expect to see the side that dominated against Chelsea with the inclusion of Jerome Boateng.
Possible City Team:
17) Boateng - 4) Kompany - 28) K Toure - 5) Zabaleta
34) de Jong - 42) Y Toure - 18) Barry
21) Silva - 32) Tevez - 7) Milner
Player to watch: David Silva
Silva has shown clear signs of adaptation to the speed of the football here in England over the last few games. He has started to settle-in and the understanding he seems to share with Carlos Tevez is extremely promising. Some of the interchange between those two is quite exciting, even more so when Silva opts to burst on, pass his lone strike partner. The Spaniard is more suited to European football, this was highlighted in our last game when he was given the freedom of the pitch in which to roam. Considering Silva starts, which is likely. I expect to continue his good progress with another goal.
Juventus Team News:
Despite Juventus not hitting the heights they have done in previous years, they still have some absolutely world class players - In goal they have arguably the world`s best goalkeeper in Gigi Buffon. Protecting his goal are Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci who are both quality, passionate defenders. In midfield, there`s Felipe Melo of Brazil who adds a touch of steel whilst flanking him is the in-from Miloš Krasić with the ageless Alesandro Del Piero up front. Here is what team I expect Juve to opt for:
Possible Juventus Team:
Legrottaglie - Bonucci - Chiellini - Grygera
Krasić - Marchisio - Melo - Pepe
Del Piero - Iaquinta
Player to watch: Miloš Krasić
It could only be one man. After his sensational display for The Old Lady against Cagliari, Miloš Krasić will have been earmarked by the management staff as the dangerman. Mancini earlier admitted he enquired about bringing the Serb to Eastlands but he was re-buffed as he opted for Turin instead. Krasić has a magic wand for a right peg and he has a real eye for goal. Zabaleta is set to face his biggest text of the season.
Match Facts & Stats
The clubs met in the first round of the 1976/77 UEFA Cup, with Tony Book`s City winning 1-0 at Maine Road, but losing 2-0 in Turin. Giovanni Trapattoni`s side beat Manchester United in the next round and went on to win the competition, overcoming Athletic Club on away goals in the final.
Juventus have played 38 games against English sides with the record W15 D8 L15 (W2 D4 L12 away).
City are unbeaten in seven European home outings, six wins and a draw, since losing 1-0 to FC Midtjylland in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.
Roberto Mancini was a boy-hood Juventus fan.
City have yet to concede at home against an Italian side.
This will be a real test. Juve have the steel in midfield (provided by Melo) to try and counter-act our physical game and impose themselves on proceedings. I expect them to opt for the 4-4-2 with two dangerous wide-men in Krasic and Pepe who will cause City problems. Hopefully, our man advantage in central midfield will prove to be their downfall as I expect us to play a similar game to that we adopted against Chelsea. Prediction MCFC 2 - 1 Juve.
Sunday, 3rd October v Newcastle @ 13:30 (H)
Sunday, 17th October v Blackpool @ 16:00 (A)