• Champions League

Mancini reignites war of words with Mourinho

ESPN staff
February 25, 2014
Roberto Mancini was replaced by Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan in 2008 © Getty Images

Roberto Mancini believes his Galatasaray side will have their work cut out against Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday night but he has taken a swipe at Jose Mourinho anyway.

With Didier Drogba, now of Galatasaray, to feature against his former side on Wednesday night in the last-16 clash in Turkey, the bitter rivalry between the two managers on the touchline is set to be another focus point.

The pair have history and Mourinho is unlikely to be impressed by Mancini's attempt to take the credit for the Portuguese winning the Champions League with Inter Milan in 2010, never mind his attempt to generally denigrate the achievement of winning Europe's elite club competition.

"Mourinho won the Champions League because he took a good team," said Mancini, who has never won the competition as a manager. "He took a team that, like Manchester City, I had built. A team that had a strong mentality."

Mourinho, by contrast, has won the Champions League twice, but Mancini told the Evening Standard: "To win a Champions League you should be lucky.

"[The] Champions League is a difficult competition but a strange one. Strange because you can win your group in October, November, December and, after maybe February [in the knock-out stages], everything can change."

The relationship between Mancini and Mourinho has been cold for some time, noticeably so since the Italian was in charge at Manchester City last season.

After Mancini failed to get City into the knockout stages of the Champions League - drawing with Mourinho's Real Madrid along the way - his counterpart, who is now in charge at Chelsea, claimed he would have been sacked if he had done the same in Spain.

Mourinho did not shake hands with Mancini after their second City match, at the Etihad, prompting the latter to hit back at the earlier swipe by claiming it was motivated by jealousy.

Mancini feels like he is on the back foot in their rivalry this season, claiming the odds are stacked against his Galatasaray team in the last 16.

"We don't have a lot of chance even at home because Chelsea are better, one of the best teams in Europe," Mancini said. "For Galatasaray to just play Chelsea is an important moment and we need to do a good job."

There is little doubt about how much he would relish an upset if they did.

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