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Mancini wary of Benitez effect

ESPN staff
November 23, 2012 « Spurs to report Lazio to UEFA | Chartbeat test »

Roberto Mancini believes Chelsea will be more dangerous opponents for Manchester City after sacking Roberto Di Matteo.

The Premier League champions visit the Champions League winners on Sunday in Chelsea's first game under interim manager Rafael Benitez.

And a wary Mancini, who believes Di Matteo was unlucky to lose his job, believes Chelsea could benefit from the bounce many a team with a new manager enjoys.

"Usually when one team changes a manager the game after for the opponents is very difficult," he said. "For us, I think it is more difficult."

Mancini expressed his sympathy for his fellow Italian Di Matteo, who was sacked in the early hours of Wednesday morning after a 3-0 defeat to Juventus.

"I am very sorry for Di Matteo because he won the Champions League three months ago or four months ago [actually six] but this is our life," he added. "When we made this choice we know it can also be difficult. This is the manager's life."

City have overhauled Chelsea this month to take over the lead of the Premier League but Mancini said the Londoners had been in fine form under Di Matteo.

"Until three games ago they played fantastic football and were on the top," he said. "I think Chelsea were a good team with Di Matteo and will be a good team with Benitez. They have good players."

Benitez has been reunited with Fernando Torres, who he signed for Liverpool and who was dropped by Di Matteo in Turin on Tuesday.

Torres has only scored once in his last eight Chelsea appearances and Mancini added: "I think Fernando is a good striker. Sometimes for the striker it is difficult if you don't score for three or four games like him."

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