Mancini eyeing up a statue for Galatasaray glory

Roberto Mancini is dreaming of a statue being built in the Bosphorus should he lead Galatasaray to Champions League glory this season.

The Turkish giants head to Chelsea on Wednesday hoping to eliminate the 2012 winners, having held them to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their last 16 encounter.

Mancini failed to take Manchester City beyond the group stage in each of the last two seasons, and exited at the last 16 with Inter Milan against Liverpool in 2008.

However, the 46-year-old, speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo Turkey, knows that “in football, anything is possible”.

“If we win this trophy, they can build a statue of mine right next to the Galatasaray Islet,” he said. “Just like Metin Oktay’s statue but into the Bosphorus!”

Chelsea possess an imposing home record since Jose Mourinho returned to the helm last summer, winning 17 games, drawing two and losing just one, to Basel, at Stamford Bridge in 2013/14.

Yet the Blues’ fortress holds no fears for Mancini, well-versed in visits to SW6.

“I am familiar with Stamford Bridge’s atmosphere,” he said. “Chelsea are an important team. They won the Champions League and Europe League in the last three years. We are going to try everything possible there but it won’t be easy.”

With Chelsea deity Didier Drogba and Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder among their ranks, Galatasaray will fancy their chances of an upset with the tie delicately poised following the Istanbul opener.

Fernando Torres struck early for the Londoners, who threatened to run riot in the first 45 minutes. But a tactical switch from the Italian, sacrificing winger Izet Hajrovic for midfielder Yekta Kurtulus, worked wonders as the Turks took control in the second half and deservedly levelled through Aurelien Chedjou.

“We conceded one goal and were faced with four counter-attacks in the first 20 minutes. They could have scored more!” he said. “So I put another midfielder into the game. I felt sorry for Hajrovic but I didn’t take him out just because he played badly. He deserves to play but the team is more important than anything.”

Interview: Ahmet Yahvuz


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