Roberto Mancini: "I'm at the Hermitage so often I'm almost considered one of the statues"
The Zenit manager gave an extensive interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy.
I have a dream, to win as a manager what I could not win as a player. That is the World Cup! I have been working in football every day for 40 years in different areas. I am still young and can return to club football after international management.
I've been with some famous clubs and won, but to manage the Italian national team would be an honour and I'd be very proud. Winning the European championship or the Wolrd Cup would be even more of an honour.
We [Italy] have a lot of young talent. I like Belotti, Pellegrini and Romagnoli, they can get even better. Every season [in Italy] there are new players emerging. The Italians have something extra. There is the material there to do a good job, perhaps by introducing some logic into the preparation of youth teams, as it was when I played there.
I like watching the work of my former playing colleagues, but not just because we once played together. I like those who have something to give, with passion and charisma.
It's not about the money. But let's clarify that point since we are being frank. I have a contract with Zenit and everything is going well.
We have completely changed the team's style of play. We started the season perfectly and were top of the table. Then we became tired after playing two matches a week. Now we are in second place and eight points behind Lokomotiv Moscow, but we can still get back in first. After the winter break we have matches against Lokomotiv and Spartak, here we can narrow the gap and re-enter the fight for the title.
Kokorin? If he wanted, with his talent, he could play for any club in Europe. (Like Ivan Perišić?) Kokorin is a top-class player. Perisic is physically exceptional, but he lacks constancy, but even when he does a little, it's already a lot. Who is better than him at Inter?
About Inter and Serie A
When I came to Inter for the second time, we rebuilt the team. Now they have more experience and a multi-million dollar investment. We finished the first part of the season as leaders, although we did not have enough players. Then in January, we needed to buy new players to support the rhythm of the team, but it was only about selling. Clubs like Inter should not only be trying to get into the UEFA Champions League, they should be trying to win.
I do not watch so many Inter games now. Perhaps they need a quick forward like Mertens or Salah, someone to play with Icardi.
I think they will finish third [in Serie A]. But for me, Inter are better than Roma or Lazio. Juventus are in the best shape and they have a historic desire to win. I know that it takes more than five minutes to learn how to win.
I do not follow him very much now, but I see that he's been scoring a lot. I wish him all the best and I hope that he will have more success. He is only 27 years old and needs to get back into the national team. Such players can win matches on there own.
On the ideal tactical formation
To begin with, everything depends on the players available. In general, there are four must-haves players. I need a central midfielder who can protect the defence and support the attack in matches against tough teams. The other aim is always the same, the search for more and more attacking football. That's the way Guardiola at Manchester City is. He has six forward players who make his attack very powerful. Even more powerful than Barcelona.
About the World Cup
I think Brazil will win it. In qualifying matches they looked very good. Silvino, who worked with them and watched them a lot agrees with me.
On the video replay system
Even if it had been installed earlier, we would still win and lose. The pitch always makes things right. However, I like it that new technology is helping. But we must introduce it so that the referees are in agreement with it. For example, allow each team one appeal with it during the game.
About the Hermitage
Let's just say that I am there so often that I am almost considered as one of the museum statues. I often go there to enjoy its beauty. Plus it's cold outside.
About the rest of the season
On Monday we leave for Dubai, then we go to Turkey. Then there will be two Europa League games with Celtic. In March the championship will start again and we have to improve our position in the standings.
On the current period in his life
This is a happy period. My son Filippo has got his diploma in sports business in the United States. Camille studies public relations and Andrea has finished his playing career and is deciding what to do next and he's in good physical shape. And I'm doing the job I love.