Roberto Mancini has backed Dedryck Boyata for a bright future after the young Belgian’s rapid rise into the first team.
The selection of the 19-year-old caught many pundits unawares and he has looked assured during his appearances at centre back.
Saturday’s defeat at Hull was Dedryck's most difficult afternoon so far, but as Mancini points out, it was not the best day for the whole side.
“If he keeps improving over the next couple of years, Boyata is going to be a fantastic player. He is going to make mistakes, he's still young and that's normal. But then the whole team did not play well in the first half at Hull, but they improved in the second half. We have to learn to start games better. We're a good team, but we have to have the right mentality.”
The manager is hoping he might be able to reunite the pairing of Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure against Bolton on Tuesday, with City not conceding during the three games when they lined up in central defence together against Stoke, Wolves and Portsmouth
We have only been able to play Vincent and Kolo together three times,” Roberto adds, “and each time we have kept a clean sheet. Boyata is obviously a good player, but he is still only young, and the more experience I have to call on the better.
Patrick Vieira is set to making his first start for City against Bolton, and the boss is pleased to finally be able to call upon such experience after a run of injuries that reduced his options in both defence and midfield.
“Patrick has the kind of mentality I want us to show for the rest of the season. We have a good chance to hit our targets, and we still have two games in hand. We want to get further up the table, but it depends on us.
“If he can be available for the rest of our games, Patrick could play a big part in that. He has the extra experience that will be important for us to use.
“We have a few options to choose from in midfield with Nigel, Gareth, Stephen and even Zaba if our defence is covered. Before Patrick came, and with some defenders injured, we really only had two midfielders of that type available in Gareth and Nigel - Stephen was also injured for a while so it was hard for them. We wanted to wait for Patrick to be fully fit, and Stephen also had to come back. I didn’t want to pick someone who was not really ready when Kolo, Joleon and Wayne were also out.”