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Sep, 29, 2010

Mancini: Judge Man City in six months

Roberto Mancini has predicted it will take six months for him to mould Manchester City into a formidable outfit.

Mancini also said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of taking charge of Italian club Juventus, who City face in the Europa League on Thursday night. Both teams are firmly in the work in progress category, and though City beat Premier League champions Chelsea in their most recent game, Mancini insists there is plenty of work ahead.

He said: "I think we can create a special team in six months. We need time to improve day by day to change the mentality. We must start winning consistently. That is important.''

On the possibility of coaching Juventus one day, he said: "Why not? Football is like that. I have never been an enemy of Juventus. I was a huge fan for years when I was a child so I have great respect for the club and the players.

"It will be a special match as it is the first time I am coaching an English team against Juventus. Obviously I miss home, as anyone would, but I am happy here. This is where I am living and working.''

Mancini raised the stakes before the game by suggesting the Premier League was stronger than Serie A. He said: "Juve and City are both new teams. We both need time to establish ourselves. I think the English championship is better than the Italian. They need to bring some big players back. They are not there at the moment.''

Veteran midfielder Patrick Vieira is hoping to claim a place in the team after saying he was "frustrated'' at his lack of game time. Vieira, 34, arrived in January from Inter Milan and previously represented Juventus. He said: "It has been frustrating. Like everyone else I want to play more often and be more involved. I know how strong the team is, especially in the midfield.

"I want to play more than one game a month. I will get my chance, I know that because the season is really long. I want to show the manager he can count on me. Every competition is really important because we all want to play. As City have not won a trophy for years, lifting one would be good for the club.''

Vieira believes City are becoming a team to fear. He said: "We have beaten Liverpool and Chelsea who are seen to be part of the big four. That just shows how strong we are. There is still a long way to go but we believe in ourselves. We know how good we are. Now we have to win games week in, week out. We have to show it on the pitch.''

Juventus forward Alessandro Del Piero is expecting a tough task against a City side that ended Chelsea's 100% record at the weekend.

"Manchester City are in excellent shape and it will be very hard for us," Del Piero said. "It always is when you are in England. They have invested heavily and one of the reasons they can be successful is that they have a great squad of players.''

Defender Micah Richards could come into contention against Juventus after a hamstring injury. Shaun Wright-Phillips is doubtful with a knee problem while Wayne Bridge and Aleksandar Kolarov remain absent.

Meanwhile Mancini expects Mario Balotelli to return to the squad at the end of next month Balotelli is sidelined with a knee injury and the striker said he would be out for eight weeks. However Mancini responded: "He is in Italy today and his knee is okay. I think he may be ready at the end of October, in four to five weeks."

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