Inter credentials will assist Mancini

ROME - New manager Roberto Mancini has all the credentials to help Manchester City satisfy their ambitions of muscling into the Premier League elite.

Mancini, who replaced the sacked Mark Hughes on Saturday, won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan and the 45-year-old is desperate to get back to the top, having contributed to his own downfall at the Italian club.

He threatened to resign during the 2007-08 season only to quickly change his mind. But the outburst angered Inter president Massimo Moratti who sacked Mancini and brought in Jose Mourinho despite bagging a third consecutive league title.

Mancini, who also won Serie A as a player with Sampdoria and Lazio, made a flying start to his coaching career.

He started in the top flight with Fiorentina after retiring as a player in 2001 and immediately won the Italian Cup.

The former Italy forward then clinched another Cup triumph at cash-strapped Lazio after leaving Fiorentina.

Mancini's arrival at Inter in 2004 did not bring immediate results and he was under pressure two years later until Italy's match-fixing scandal meant his club were awarded their first title since 1989 after table-toppers Juventus were relegated.

Inter's second league triumph under him was slightly devalued by Juve being in Serie B and AC Milan starting the campaign with an eight-point penalty from the match-fixing affair. But there could be no qualms about the third. NOUVEAU RICHE

The move to nouveau riche City could be considered a step backwards after being in charge at the San Siro and linked to established giants such as Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Mancini, though, knew he was unlikely to get back in the game at the same level he had left especially after an absence of a year and a half.

"The most beautiful thing is to be there on the field," he told Sky television earlier this year.

"It does not necessarily have to be a team that's fighting for the title. It could be a side that has an important project for the future."

Another point in favour of the Mancini-City marriage is the Italian is used to managing a squad of well-paid players with big egos.

His Inter side rarely played champagne football but they knew how to grind out wins on a rainy night against lowly opposition.

If Mancini is able to repeat that knack of shutting out opposition and getting results when not playing well, City fans are unlikely to complain if it means they will be contending with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and city rivals United.