Sven-Goran Eriksson returns to Upton Park tomorrow with a City team intent on coming home with all three points.
The Hammers’ home was the place where Sven was first introduced to a Premier League crowd as England manager and it appears to be fate that his first game as City boss is back at the Boleyn Ground.
“It’s a nice place to be watching football,” noted Sven looking back to his England days. “West Ham are a nice club and I felt at home there and everywhere – the people were very nice to me.”
But what reaction does he expect tomorrow when in the away team dug-out? “From the directors, very good, I’m quite sure about that. From the crowd? Good I suppose, I don’t know, but it will be interesting to see.
“I’ve never done anything against West Ham as far as I know! The away manager is never popular, I know that and expect it, but nothing else.”
As for the game itself, it hands City a difficult opening task against a relieved and refreshed West Ham side, themselves with big ambitions for this year.
The Blues boss observed: “They’ve bought a lot of players, a lot of good ones, a Swedish one for example. I’m sure that he will play very well for them.
“It’s a quite new team they have now and I’ve had all the reports and line ups from their friendly games.
“If you compare them with just over a year and few months ago, when I went to see them when I last worked in this country, they’ve got a lot of new names in their team.”
Despite not experiencing club management first-hand in this country, Eriksson is under no illusion about the season ahead.
He stated: “Every point here is extremely important and we all know the importance of starting the league well. It could be the difference between three, four or five positions at the end, so it is very, very important.
“We have a good team, an even stronger after the work permission was granted, but it will take some time.
“Football is not that easy that they [new players] can come in, practise for one week, less for some and then are ready to fit in and do a 100% job with the rest of the team.
“We know it’s a battle for all three points or even one point sometimes so you won’t find any easy games in this league.
“I think it will be a good game, a difficult one for us, but I hope that it will be difficult also for West Ham.”
Lucas Neill and £6m summer signing Julien Faubert are out of tomorrow’s game, while Scott Parker is a major doubt for the Hammers as City hope for a repeat of last season’s 1-0 victory in east London.
mcfc.co.uk’s Tim Oscroft will be our man at Upton Park to provide the usual full service of official text alerts and match report as events unfold tomorrow.