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Sven backing old pal Roberto

Sven at training

Sven at training

Former Blues boss Sven Goran Eriksson is backing Roberto Mancini's bid to steer City into a fourth-place finish and with it a passport into next season's Champions League.

Sven, now in charge of World Cup-bound Ivory Coast, was down at Carrington this week to see centre-half Kolo Toure and have a quick chat with his old Serie A protege Mancini.

Eriksson wished City's current manager all the best as the Blues tackle the triple challenge of Aston Villa, Tottenham and West Ham that holds the key to taking on Europe's elite.

Roberto said: "Of course he would like to see us in the Champions League. When Sven was here he was very happy, and when I arrived he told me that it was a big club, an important club."

Eriksson was Mancini's boss at Sampdoria before taking the Italy midfielder to Lazio, where he later became Sven's No.2 before launching his own successful managerial career.

Mancini went on to enjoy a hat-trick of Serie A titles with Inter but still regards Eriksson as his mentor. He said: "We stay in touch, and sometimes he will offer advice if I ask.

"He has been a big influence on me, seven or eight years as a player and then one year as his assistant. He is a good man and a good manager, one of the most important in my career.

"But he is very busy now, he doesn't have much time because he must get to know all their players and prepare everything before the World Cup. It's difficult for him."


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