Mancini admits late signing is handicap

01 October 2013 06:16

New Galatasaray coach Roberto Mancini admitted signing for the Turks only two days before their Champions League clash with Group B opponents Juventus could be a baptism of fire.

Juventus host the Turkish champions on Wednesday when both sides will both be looking to overcome opening day setbacks: Juve drew 1-1 away with FC Copenhagen while Real Madrid trounced Galatasaray 6-1 in Istanbul.

The latter result contributed to Fatih Terim's recent sacking and by a strange twist of fate the Turks turned to Mancini, who also replaced Terim at Fiorentina in 2001.

In his first managerial post since his sacking by Manchester City after a FA Cup final defeat to Wigan last May, former Inter Milan coach Mancini will meet a team he knows well.

Juve coach Antonio Conte even ventured that his 11th hour arrival could pose the Bianconeri potential problems because, tactically, Mancini deploys his side differently to what Juventus were expecting.

Mancini, however, has seen little of his squad in the flesh and admitted he would be relying on their experience of playing together.

"Of course it's a handicap to take charge of the squad a day before the game," said Mancini, who signed a three-year deal with his new club on Monday.

"I really haven't had time to see the players out on the pitch but thankfully they know each other well and have been playing for a long time together."

Galatasaray began the campaign with high hopes having made it to the quarter-finals last season before being ousted 5-3 on aggregate by Real Madrid.

But it has been a torrid start, the rout at home two weeks ago giving the Turks a mountain to climb.

Mancini added: "My job is to continue the good work that he (Terim) started, and if possible do it by winning games.

"Tomorrow is the first of five difficult matches but we have to believe in ourselves and try to qualify from the group."

Fans of the Turkish club should get a glimpse of whether Mancini has his squad's backing, especially key players like Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba.

On Monday, Hurriyet newspaper claimed Sneijder was an injury doubt however the Dutchman was included in Mancini's squad list.

A day later, Turkish media suggested the main problem was Sneijder's fractious relationship with Terim.

Mancini is believed to have spoken to Sneijder quickly in a bid to get their working relationship off to a smooth start.

Having coached Carlos Tevez, now at Juventus but a doubt for the match due to an ankle injury, Mancini knows all about coaching players with difficult personalities.

Tevez famously refused to come on as a substitute against Bayern Munich in September 2011, leading to a feud which effectively left the Argentinian unable to play any club football until his return in February 2012.

Mancini, who led Inter to three back-to-back Serie A titles before taking over City in 2009, said there would be no hard feelings.

"I look forward to seeing Tevez again, because apart from the time he took a holiday we always had a good relationship," said Mancini.

"We won three trophies together and I've always thought he's a great player."

Mancini is hoping his knowledge of Juventus will come in useful, but he admitted: "I don't have a secret recipe. I only met my squad yesterday and straight away we're up against a top team like Juventus.

"I hope the lads rise to the occasion, but for us it's a difficult game."

Source: AFP