Mancini urges City patience
Roberto Mancini is confident Aleksandar Kolarov and Mario Balotelli can help Man City join the elite.
By Simone Bargellini
Last Updated: 15/09/10 6:40pm
Roberto Mancini is confident summer signings Aleksandar Kolarov and Mario Balotelli can help Manchester City establish themselves amongst the Premier League elite.
Mancini signed the pair from his native Italy in the summer but each has made just one appearance for the Blues so far before being sidelined through injury.
Kolarov, 24, was forced off during City's opening day draw at Tottenham with a foot injury while Balotelli, 20, suffered a knee injury as he came on to score the only goal in the Europa League win at FC Timisoara.
Although they cost City a combined £40million, Mancini sees them as long-term investments for the club who, because of their age, should develop into even more valuable players.
"We focus strongly on young, value players," he told Il Messaggero.
"Kolarov and Balotelli will do well in the Premier League. Unfortunately, both are injured and this has hampered our start of the season.
"Mario is certainly a factor that can make the difference. He is an extraordinary talent who has everything to become a number one - even in Italy's national team."
City just missed out on Champions League qualification last season before launching another spending spree in the summer.
And although the Blues have made a mixed start to the new campaign, being held 1-1 at home to Blackburn on Saturday, Mancini believes it is only a matter of time before his latest signings settle in and hit top form.
"Our objective is overcome Chelsea and Manchester United but to accommodate everyone it will take a little time - even last Saturday we wasted a number of incredible opportunities to score," he said.
"We have to chase but, eventually, City will be one of the main clubs."
When Mancini was appointed City boss last December, he became the latest high-profile Italian coach in England with Carlo Ancelotti at the Chelsea helm while Fabio Capello is in charge of the national team.
Ancelotti led Chelsea to the club's first-ever league and FA Cup double in his first season at Stamford Bridge and Mancini hopes to create some history at ambitious City.
"It means that Italian coaches are good and are appreciated abroad," he said.
"Carlo has already won the Double with Chelsea and I hope to emulate him soon."
Mancini coached Inter Milan to three straight Serie A titles and despite returning to his former club to sign Balotelli this summer, he believes they remain favourites for the Scudetto.
"I'd say Inter, then Roma and AC Milan," Mancini added. "The Nerazzurri remain the strongest even without Balotelli."