Former Man City boss: 'Mourinho won Champions League because of me'

Roberto Mancini

Roberto Mancini believes that Jose Mourinho was able to win the Champions League with Inter due to his prior efforts.

The former Manchester City manager and current Chelsea boss will go head-to-head in Europe’s elite competition on Wednesday evening as the Blues travel to Istanbul to take on the Italian’s Galatasaray.

It is a matchup that will pit two managers with opposing continental histories against each other, Mourinho hailed for his pair of Champions League titles while Mancini’s teams have typically fared poorly in the tournament.

The Portuguese would claim his second crown at Inter in Mancini’s wake, taking over from the former Sampdoria striker in June 2008 and bringing the Nerazzurri to the pinnacle of Europe in the 2008 campaign.

But Mancini is of the opinion that Mourinho owes this particular success to him.

Mourinho won the Champions League because he inherited a good team,” he said in his press conference ahead of Wednesday’s contest. “A team built by me.

“Inter had a strong mentality already, something that was not there when I arrived.

Mourinho faced criticism in his first term at San Siro for failing to better Mancini’s previous efforts in the Champions League, but quickly responded by lifting the trophy in his second and final term in Milan.

He made significant changes to the squad left behind, bringing in key players Diego Milito, Thiago Motta and Wesley Sneijder - the first of whom would go on to hit a brace in the Madrid final against Bayern Munich and be named man-of-the-match.

Perhaps Mancini left behind the proper foundation, but Mourinho certainly built upon it - indeed, the trio of signings made prior to his treble-winning season in 2009-10 proved vital.

Barbs between the two men are not so shocking in light of their history, and given the form Mourinho has been in of late in taking on counterparts on the bench in wars of words, expect a response.

First it may come on the pitch when Chelsea and Galatasaray face off on Wednesday - an encounter Mancini hasn’t expressed a great deal of confidence over - and after to press microphones if the Portuguese is so inclined.

image: © Andrew Brannan

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