Roberto Mancini recalls coaching Celtic's trio of ex-Manchester City players – Scott Sinclair, Dedryck Boyata and Olivier Ntcham – during his time at the Etihad
Roberto Mancini says his former club Manchester City have improved so much this year that they are now genuine contenders to win the Champions League.
The Italian coached City between 2009 and 2013 but the furthest he managed to take the club in Europe was the last 16 of the Champions League.
Pep Guardiola is now in charge at City and, as well as dominating in the Premier League, his side are poised to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League following their 4-0 first-leg win against Basel on Tuesday.
Asked whether City could go all the way in Europe, Mancini said: “Maybe they can. Manchester City improved a lot this year.
“Now the level is very high and they could have a chance to win the Champions League.”
Mancini, who is now manager at Russian side Zenit St Petersburg, is preparing his side for their Europa League last-32 first-leg clash with Celtic on Thursday.
The tie will see him come up against three players he used to coach at the Etihad – Dedryck Boyata, Scott Sinclair and Olivier Ntcham – and the Italian has fond memories of the trio.
He said: “Boyata played with me in the Premier League and got a red card against Arsenal at home!
“But Dedryck is a good player and he was really young at the time.
“After I took Scott from Swansea he was very unlucky, because our team was very strong.
“Ntcham was young and played in the second team. All these players, first of all, are very good guys and after good players.”