| Submit Comments| Comments (26)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapRoberto ManciniRoberto Mancini is planning for a big, big summer for Manchester City. The Blues are ready to spend to back their Italian manager after unequivocally backing him after last season?s Champions League near-miss. But what excites Mancini more than the prospect of sparkling new players joining the club is the prospect of having his squad at his fingertips for several summer weeks. And, with that in mind, he can be forgiven if he sits down to watch the World Cup finals and hopes that England, Argentina and Holland all have stinkers. City have given their World Cup contingent three weeks holiday from the point their national team is eliminated from the competition. That is in contrast to neighbours United, who may have ruled out some of their players from the opening day of next season by giving their troops four weeks off. Mancini is setting great store by the importance of his pre-season preparations this summer. A thoughtful student of the game, Mancini was thrown into the hurly-burly of a Premier League season, in the midst of a bitterly cold English winter, and left to sink or swim. A manager who is meticulous about preparation, he was forced to make do and mend as the games came as hard and fast as the sleet, players fell to injury, international call-up and compassionate leave. Tactical During those difficult months, he was striving to change the mentality of his squad, as well as their tactical set-up, and his new methods sometimes jarred on the nerves of some senior professionals. Craig Bellamy had a whinge, Carlos Tevez had a moan, and one or two other players were privately unsure, although, like any football idea, the improvement in results tended to dilute any dissent. By the end of the season, Tevez?s complaint that the manager had introduced occasional double training sessions had become a running joke for Mancini. Asked after the 3-1 win over Aston Villa whether Tevez had been injured as he appeared to be in discomfort when substituted, Mancini said: ?No, it must be the training twice a day!?But the manager has made it plain that whips will be cracked when the players get together again. Asked if pre-season will be tough, and maybe twice a day, Mancini afforded another grin and replied: ?Very hard. Very hard. But I don?t joke. It will be hard. We must work very well.?Pre-season is very important. It sets you up for the whole season ahead.? Mancini?s problem, as for most other managers, is that pre-season tends to be heavily disrupted every two years by World Cups and European Championships. The Blues? official date for a return to training is July 5, but they then shortly fly out to Portland, Oregon to begin preparation at the state-of-the-art Nike facilities. The core of the squad will be made up of non-World Cup players - Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Stevie Ireland, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards, Patrick Vieira, Pablo Zabaleta, and possibly Adam Johnson, unless he survives Fabio Capello?s cut next week. The World Cup stars will then be flying out to join the squad during the three-week US tour, depending on how far their team progresses whilst out in South Africa. If the bookies have it right, Vladimir Weiss, Kolo Toure and Roque Santa Cruz will link up ahead of the highlight of the tour, the New York Football Tournament from July 22-25. But Nigel de Jong, Carlos Tevez and the Blues? England contingent are all tipped to last into the last eight with their respective countries, which could mean they miss the whole tour. And Mancini has warned his players, who are the best-paid in the Premier League, that they will start earning that money in terms of hard work. ?You can always win if you work hard. There isn?t any other way,? he said. ?You must choose good players. You must have a good mentality. You must work through holidays.? What do you think? Have your say.| Submit Comments| Comments (26)| Printable VersionAdd A CommentEnter your comments:Type your comment here.