Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini confident Jo can fill void
Jo, an £18 million buy from CSKA Moscow in July 2008, has scored just one Premier League goal for the club in a mere 11 appearances since his arrival. Much of his time has been spent on loan at Everton or Galatasaray. But with Emmanuel Adebayor and Mario Balotelli ruled out by injury, Carlos Tévez battling a hamstring problem and former Blackburn forward Roque Santa Cruz only fit to start on the bench today after returning on Friday from a midweek international with Paraguay in China, Mancini has told Jo that he will start against Sam Allardyce's team. Manchester City manager Mancini said: "I have only Jo available of my strikers, but if he plays today, he can score goals. "I have known about Jo for four or five years since Inter played CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and he scored in the two group games against us. "For a young player to score twice against Inter was very impressive. For me he is a fantastic player. He has everything you need to become a top player and I believe he can improve because he is still young." Blackburn defender Michel Salgado, a three-time European Cup winner with Real Madrid, has warned City that they face a challenge to overcome their lack of 'history' if they are to realise the ambitions of owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan. Salgado, a key figure during Real's 'galactico' era, claims that the world's top players are still more likely to snub City in favour of more illustrious clubs. He said: "It depends on the character of the players, but normally top players prefer to play for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool, than play for Manchester City. "Maybe in the future it is going to be different, but for sure they will have to win trophies to do that. You have to build a history. "At the moment, City don't have top, top players. We're talking about David Silva, Mario Balotelli and they can be top players, but they aren't now like Luis Figo or Zinedine Zidane. "City need time to build a team and it's very important that the manager tries to deal with that little by little."
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