Manchester City defender Micah Richards has thanked former manager Roberto Mancini for the first taste of success of his career.
Mancini, who was sacked earlier this month, often appeared to have issues with Richards and regularly questioned his fitness or form, or used him sparingly.
But the right-back has spoken in glowing terms of the Italian, who oversaw FA Cup and Barclays Premier League victories in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
Richards, speaking on the club’s post-season tour of the United States, said: “Mancini did fantastic in the three years he was here.
“The owners have decided they wanted a change and that was up to them but I’d like to thank Mancini for what he did for me – winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield.
“It was brilliant, I’d never won anything before.
“I’m happy for that but we are moving forward now, and looking forward to whoever it is going to be and seeing their plans.”
Malaga’s outgoing boss Manuel Pellegrini is widely expected to be named as Mancini’s successor after the Spanish season ends on June 1.
Indeed, the club have done little quell the intense speculation surrounding the veteran Chilean, which began even before Mancini was dismissed.
Richards said: “That’s in the papers and what everyone’s speaking about.
“But you never know, sometimes late runners come in.
“Whoever it is we will give 100 per cent and we’ll be fully behind him.”
Richards, 24, has learnt a little bit about 59-year-old Pellegrini from his team-mate Roque Santa Cruz, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Malaga.
He said: “He got to the quarter-finals of the Champions League this year.
“Roque Santa Cruz is out there. I sent him a text about three months ago and he said he was having the time of his life.
“It’s all been positive from Santa Cruz.”
City’s summer break can begin after their second post-season friendly against Chelsea at Yankee Stadium in New York.
Richards played the second half when the sides met in their first match in St Louis on Thursday, which City came from 3-0 down to win 4-3.
Apart from that day in Missouri, City have spent the rest of the week in the Big Apple, undertaking a number of commercial and community events as well as making news by launching a Major League Soccer team.
Richards said: “The time in New York has been fantastic.
“It’s probably one of the best places on Earth and I’d like to come back again.
“We are trying to expand, we are trying to get fans worldwide, so coming to America is perfect for us.
“MLS is getting stronger every year and we believe coming here and trying to expand it is only right for the club.”