I’ve nothing to prove to Roberto Mancini, says Scott Sinclair

Zenit St Petersburg boss Roberto Mancini will see a “much different” Scott Sinclair when their paths meet again tonight, according to the Celtic winger.

I’ve nothing to prove to Roberto Mancini, says Scott  Sinclair

The 28-year-old was signed by Manchester City in 2012 from Swansea when Mancini was in charge at the Etihad Stadium, but he failed to make an impact under the Italian, joining Aston Villa in 2015 after loan spells at West Brom and Villa, before arriving at Parkhead a year later.

Sinclair has become a mainstay of Brendan Rodgers’ side since, winning a domestic treble in his first season and looking for a second this year, and is currently the Hoops top scorer with 17 goals.

Ahead of the first leg of their Europa League clash with Zenit at Celtic Park, the Englishman recalled his time under the Italian and said: “When I went to City I only played a few games under him. I am much different.

“But there are so many players there that didn’t really get as much game time as they would have liked. I am a much more different now, than then. I don’t have a point to prove to him, it’s for myself.

“He is a very tactical manager, I am sure he will be doing a lot of tactical work to stop us performing tomorrow and I am sure he will be wanting to win the game.”

Mancini is well aware of the strengths of Rodgers’ line-up having worked with Dedryck Boyata, Sinclair and Olivier Ntcham during his stint in charge at the Etihad.

He recalled: “Boyata played his first game in Premier League when I was there and got a red card against Arsenal at home — but he was really young at the time. I bought Scott from Swansea and he was unlucky as our team was really strong, while Ntcham was just a kid in the second team. But they are all good players.”

Celtic Boss Brendan Rodgers claims Celtic would upset the odds by knocking Zenit out of the Europa League. Zenit won five and drew one of their six Europa League group games to reach the knockout stages whereas the Scottish champions dropped down from the Champions League by finishing third behind European superpowers PSG and Bayern Munich with just one win in six.

“In terms of the standings of both teams across Europe, it would be fair to say that they would obviously be favourites,” said Rodgers.

“We have to be realistic as always. We know where we stand in relation to some of the superpowers and finances at this level.

“There are some great teams in the Europa League and the nature of the competition means it is very difficult for us, and like the Champions League, we are going to be tested to the limits in terms of where we are at in comparison to the other teams. But it is a really exciting challenge.”

The Co Antrim man insists it would take “something magical” to prevent continual European struggle for the champions of Scotland.

“It is always going to be difficult for Scottish teams,” he said. “First and foremost, for us, our task here is to always win the league to gain entry into qualification for Champions League and then that allows you to have greater funds in order to build your club.

“So unless something magical happens and there is a huge financial input to the club then of course it will always be a challenge for us.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox