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Manchester City remind Sven-Goran Eriksson of big-spending Lazio

Former Manchester City and Lazio manager sees the similarities between the Italian club circ 2000 and the current English side.

Sven-Goran Eriksson believes Manchester City are reminiscent of the Lazio team he led to the Serie A title in 2000.

The Leicester City manager spent a year in charge at Eastlands between 2007 and 2008 and after seeing his side beaten 4-2 by the Premier League's second-place side in the FA Cup replay on Tuesday night, feels City have changed radically since his departure.

He likens them to Lazio, the Italian giants who he guided to their first title in 26 years at the turn of the millennium. His team included Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager and was bankrolled by the tycoon Sergio Cragnotti. City have themselves been transformed into title contenders by the resources of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.

Asked if he detects similarities between his two former clubs, Eriksson said: "I would say so, yes. At that time, we bought Christian Vieri and that was the record signing in the world at that time. We sold him 10 months later, for even more money [32 million (Dh188m) to Inter Milan] and that was the world record again.

"Lazio were spending a lot of money at that time. They were beautiful times. We won the league and maybe we should have won it the year before as well. We won seven trophies in three years which is very good, But if you are a club not Milan, Inter or Juventus to win the league is very good, but you need money."

Hernan Crespo, Juan Sebastian Veron and Marcelo Salas were other costly additions to a Lazio side that already included Alessandro Nesta and Pavel Nedved. Having managed Mancini at Sampdoria, Eriksson took the Italian to the Stadio Olimpico and is sure City are in good hands.

"He will do very well now," he said. "He always was a coach on the pitch when he played for Sampdoria and Lazio."

Eriksson is impressed with City's squad and unconcerned by reports of training ground rows, arguing that Mancini's time managing Inter has prepared him for the difficulties of dealing with superstars.

"They have the best," Eriksson said. "Big players, big egos; true, but Inter had big players and big egos; Lazio, when I was there, always. It's better to have big players and big egos than not to have them."

Mancini beat his mentor for the first time on Tuesday as City moved into the fourth round of the FA Cup. It sends City to League One side Notts County where, intriguingly, Mancini revealed Eriksson tried to take him.

The Swede became director of football at Meadow Lane following the 2009 takeover by the Munto Finance consortium. Then in League Two, County had the illusion of wealth and Eriksson convinced Sol Campbell to join the club.

After manager Ian McParland's departure in October 2009, Eriksson approached his old ally with a view to replacing the Scot.

"Yes, it is true," Mancini said. "We talk about this sometimes. When Sven talked about Notts County, it was a good situation at the time."

It swiftly deteriorated with Eriksson leaving last February. Mancini, understandably, said he was happy to have chosen City instead.

sports@thenational.ae

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