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Italian Job features on Christmas Day for City stars

Roberto Mancini

Roberto Mancini

City players will be hard at work on Christmas Day as new manager Roberto Mancini leaves nothing to chance for his Boxing Day debut against Stoke.

Former Inter Milan boss Mancini is used to a festive break along with the rest of Italian football as Serie A is suspended for the holiday period along with other European leagues.

But the Blues stars will be training tomorrow morning and spending Christmas night in a team hotel ... as well as being reminded not to over-indulge at the family dinner table.

He said: "In Italy at the moment, the championship is stopped. When I was there I would stay at home and watch TV, and it was always the English Premier League! But I am happy to play on Boxing Day.

"We are all professionals and we must prepare well for the game against Stoke. They can eat their Christmas dinner, but not too much. And yes, they can have wine, but one glass!


We will be staying at the hotel the night before because that's most important. It's what we used to do in Italy



The squad will freshen up with a morning walk on Boxing Day before heading for the City of Manchester Stadium - and Mancini's pace might be on the brisk side as he checks his watch.

He smiled: "I want to start now, but the game is not until Saturday! I will have some nerves, but  that is normal. I don't feel the pressure. You get the same situation in Italy with a change of manager.

"I will enjoy the match, of course. I am ready, and I think the squad is ready. Saturday will be a big match."

Mancini, who expects to lose African Nations Cup duo Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast) and Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) after the Stoke match, is concerned at the current injury count at Carrington.

He said: "I have a defence in mind, though at the moment we have this problem with many players injured. But I think we can do well, we can still put out a strong team."

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