Roberto Mancini is being tipped to win over the Manchester City players following the sacking of Mark Hughes by the manager who brought him to England as a player.
But Peter Taylor, who signed Mancini when in charge of Leicester nearly a decade ago, believes it will be next season before City realise their dream of breaking into the top four.
Former England Under-21 coach Taylor was instantly impressed by the professionalism of Mancini during his days with the Foxes before he went on to enjoy success as a manager in Italy.
He will have to confront a reported revolt by some of the City players said to be unhappy at Hughes’ departure in the aftermath of Saturday’s 4-3 home win over Sunderland.
Taylor told Press Association Sport: “I thought Roberto was a diamond of a man you can trust. He was a magnificent player who was coming to the end of his career when I signed him.
“But he wanted to have a look at the English scene, get back to full fitness and be a success. He was an excellent professional.
“I did not have a clue at that stage that he would go on to manage in Italy and win the things he has as a manager.
“But what I did notice was that he knew about training (methods) and he showed an interest in the way we trained at Leicester.
“I know he is serious about what he does and if he does anything, he does it well.”
Taylor, who is looking to return to football after parting company with Wycombe in October, added: “I am sure Roberto will have the respect of the Manchester City players.
“It will be difficult to start with because the City players are disappointed that Mark Hughes has gone, but I think he will win them over and he has got a good style about him.
“No-one is blaming him for taking the job. He is not the one who has made the change of manager and, in that respect, I don’t think the players will have the hump.”
However, Taylor believes the top-four goal given to Mancini by the City hierarchy may be beyond him this season because of the quality of the Premier League.
He added: “I said three or four weeks ago that Manchester City will break into the top four of the Premier League next season, but not this season.
“It is one of the toughest leagues in the world and money cannot buy a team that top-four place straight away.
“If it did, it would not be such a good league. It would also be boring if that happens and you only have to look at the quality of the five teams above Manchester City at present.”