Mancini looking forward to Foxes reunion
- Fri 07 Jan 2011, 12:06AM
- Posted by David Clayton
Robert Mancini admits he is looking forward to returning to Leicester on Sunday for the first time since he left the club in February 2001.
The City boss only stayed briefly with the Foxes before returning to Italy to begin his management career with Fiorentina.
“I stayed at Leicester for one month and I really enjoyed my time with the club,” he said. “If my memory serves me correct, I left with the team in a good position – sixth I think – and I played five games, only one of which we lost to Everton.
“It was a very good experience for me – short, but enjoyable and it made me want to return to work in England one day. The Leicester fans were wonderful to me and the players were very respectful and friendly, too.
“I’d like to thank everyone connected with the club and particularly the supporters for making my time with them so happy.”
He is also looking forward to seeing the man who gave him his first job in management – Sven-Goran Eriksson, who employed Mancini as his No.2 at Lazio and was also his boss at Sampdoria for several seasons.
“I am very happy Sven is the manager at Leicester because he has been a big influence on my career, and it is nice for both clubs to have this relationship,” he said. “I was happy to let Greg Cunningham develop his game under Sven and we are happy Ben Mee will also have the opportunity to progress, too.
“I can’t ever remember having my team take on Sven’s team – we were always together and I worked alongside him for a long time – maybe 15 years.
It feels strange to now be taking my team to take on his and maybe we will end up on the wrong benches on Sunday!
One thing is for certain – all friendships will be set aside for 90 minutes once the eagerly-awaited FA Cup tie begins and Mancini says his mentor would be disappointed if it were any different.
“Sven will play to win and so will I – it’s the only way we know how!” he smiled.
“It is a great draw for both clubs and very odd that the teams were drawn out by a City fan and a Leicester fan – it must have been fated that we would meet in this competition.
“We want to win this game and will go to Leicester with the strongest squad we have available because we want to be successful in this competition.”
The game will be screened live on ESPN this Sunday, kick off 4pm.