Manchester City  hero Mike Summerbee  has backed boss Roberto Mancini  to create a dynasty at the club that could one day surpass that created by Sir Alex Ferguson  on the red side of town.
Fresh from securing a first league title in 44 years, Mancini met with owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak in Abu Dhabi to discuss an extension to his current deal, which runs out in 12 months’ time.
Those face-to-face talks appear to have gone smoothly with the Italian coach reportedly set to be rewarded with a new three-year contract worth a cool £15 million (Dh85.3m).
It is unclear whether the former Internazionale boss would have been given such favourable terms had injury-time goals from Eden Dzeko and Sergio Aguero – in the 3-2 final-day win over QPR – not dramatically sealed a title Summerbee describes as “unbelievable”.
However the City ambassador, who was part of the side that last lifted the English championship for the club in 1968, believes it won’t be Mancini’s last contract – or league title – at the Etihad Stadium.
“I’m an admirer of Roberto,” Summerbee told Sport360° as he paraded the Premier League trophy in the UAE capital on Wednesday.
“He knows what he wants to do, I think it’s important that he sticks to what he wants to do and I think it’s important to retain Roberto Mancini and keep him there as long as we possibly can because we won the FA Cup with him and we’ve won the Premier League. So, really, how can you go against someone who’s successful?”
The 69-year-old added: “To win this trophy here (points at the Premier League trophy) is one of the hardest things to do. Sir Alex Ferguson got that winning mentality into Manchester United, and this is what Mancini has done to the Manchester City dressing room.
"He’s put a winning mentality into the players and it’s very, very successful. “In the three years he’s been here, he’s won two major trophies and that’s the biggest trophy you’ll get there.”
And asked if he thought Mancini could one day emulate Ferguson’s amazing feats at United – where he has won 27 major trophies in 26 years – Summerbee said: “I think so yes. He’s doing it now because it’s that winning mentality that wins you trophies.”
No 'I' in team
He revealed watching Mancini’s side come back from the brink against QPR alongside Patrick Vieira was the “most amazing thing”. However, while some might suggest it was fitting that it was Argentine magician Aguero who had the final say, Summerbee believes it was ultimately City’s team spirit and not individual stars that delivered success.
“I just look at the players, and I’m fortunate enough to be in their company quite a bit, and the team spirit and the togetherness is there,” he added. “The team [being] together is most important. Team spirit and working together that’s where you get your success from.
“That’s how we won everything, because we played with the same team every week if we could. At the end of the day we worked together. You work together in your offices and you’re only successful because you’re working together – and that’s where you get your success from.”
Praise for Sheikh Mansour
Meanwhile, the former England international also paid tribute to City’s Abu Dhabi backers, and not only for the money they have pumped into his beloved club.
He added: “It’s quite amazing what they’ve done. It’s not only the finance of it, it’s the running of the football club and the way the area around the ground is being looked after and the two training grounds, it’s quite amazing.”