• Premier League

Rodgers nearly worked under Mancini

ESPN staff
February 2, 2013

Roberto Mancini says he was impressed with Brendan Rodgers when he interviewed the now Liverpool manager about becoming his Manchester City assistant three years ago.

Rodgers visits the Etihad Stadium on Sunday but he could have been working there as Mancini's second-in-command. The Manchester City manager eventually opted for his former Sampdoria team-mate David Platt, but only after Rodgers had made an impact with his knowledge.

The Northern Irishman was sacked by Reading when City appointed Mancini in December 2009 but went on to enjoy success in two seasons at Swansea before moving to Liverpool last summer.

And Mancini confirmed Rodgers was under consideration.

"Yes, three years ago, before David," Mancini said. "I talked with him but for me it was easier to take David because I played with him, I knew him very well and David spoke Italian.

"I was impressed with Brendan. I met him in Milan. I spoke about him with our chief scout [former technical director Mike Rigg] and also with Garry Cook.

"He impressed me because he knows his football very well and he showed he is a good manager in the last two years. I'm not surprised he went to Liverpool."

Mancini is also an admirer of Rodgers' top scorer.

"Luis Suarez plays for Liverpool and is strong," he added.

The Italian does not believe captain Vincent Kompany needs surgery on an injured calf, which will keep him out for at least another fortnight.

He said: "An injury to the calf is a bad injury. You can have this for a long time. Vinnie needs to work and have treatment but I'm not worried about an operation. He did this problem in March last year after five minutes against Sporting Lisbon. We need to manage him well."

Mancini hopes Matija Nastasic, who missed Tuesday's 0-0 draw at QPR, will be fit to return to a defence missing the injured Kompany.

The 48-year-old reflected on the eventful City career of Mario Balotelli, whose move to AC Milan was finalised on Thursday.

He added: "It's my own opinion that it went well for the first two years. The last six months, [was different], maybe because he had big problems with injuries … maybe also because he wanted to go back to Italy. For him to stay with his family would be better.

"He knows Italy, he knows football in Italy. I'm happy about the quality he showed here. But I think he can do better because Mario has everything to become one of the best strikers in Europe but if he wants to do this he needs to work hard, work more and maybe now he can continue to improve."

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