Roberto Mancini faces a club close to his heart admitting it will take another six months to shape Manchester City in his own image.
The Italian manager is aiming to get the better of Juventus tomorrow in the their glamour Europa League group match at Eastlands.
While pleased with the progress his side are making – they defeated reigning champions Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday – he maintains there is a lot of work ahead.
Mancini said: “I think we can create a special team in six months. We need time to improve day by day to change the mentality. We must start winning consistently. That is important.”
Juventus are also a side in transition and Mancini has not ruled out the possibility of returning home to coach them one day.
“Why not, football is like that, ” he said.
“I have never been an enemy of Juventus. I was a huge fan for years when I was a child so I have great respect for the club and the players.
“It will be a special match as it is the first time I am coaching an English team against Juventus.
“Obviously I miss home, as anyone would, but I am happy here. This is where I am living and working.”
Mancini raised the stakes before the game by suggesting the Premier League was stronger than Serie A.
He said: “Juve and City are both new teams. We both need time to establish ourselves.
“I think the English championship is better than the Italian. They need to bring some big players back. They are not there at the moment.”
Veteran midfielder Patrick Vieira is hoping to claim a place in the team after saying he was “frustrated” at his lack of game time.
Vieira, 34, arrived in January from Inter Milan following a season with Juventus. He said: “It has been frustrating. Like everyone else I want to play more often and be more involved. I know how strong the team is, especially in the midfield.
“I want to play more than one game a month. I will get my chance, I know that because the season is really long. I want to show the manager he can count on me.
“Every competition is really important because we all want to play. As City have not won a trophy for years lifting one would be good for the club.”
Vieira believes City are becoming a team to fear.
He said: “We have beaten Liverpool and Chelsea who are seen to be part of the big four. That just shows how strong we are. There is still a long way to go but we believe in ourselves.
“We know how good we are. Now we have to win games week in, week out. We have to show it on the pitch.”
Defender Micah Richards could come into contention against Juventus after a hamstring injury.
Shaun Wright-Phillips is doubtful with a knee problem while Wayne Bridge and Aleksandar Kolarov remain absent.
Meanwhile Mancini expects Mario Balotelli to return to the squad at the end of next month
Balotelli is sidelined with a knee injury and the striker said he would be out for eight weeks.
However Mancini responded: “He is in Italy today and his knee is okay. I think he may be ready at the end of October, in four to five weeks.”