Boyata prepared to be patient

Just as he was against Manchester United last term, Boyata was

handed a surprise start by Roberto Mancini in Saturday’s excellent

Premier League win over Chelsea. The 19-year-old refused to be

overawed by the demands being placed upon him, even though he was

facing players he regards as his idols. Having performed so well,

Boyata could realistically expect to retain his place. However,

with Jerome Boateng and Joleon Lescott nearing full fitness and

both Wayne Bridge and Aleksandar Kolarov to rejoin Mancini’s squad

at some stage over the next couple of months, the young Belgian

accepts it might not be quite that easy. But there is no way he

will be banging on Mancini’s door demanding answers – he is having

too much fun and learning far too many lessons for that. “I am not

in a hurry,” he said. “I need to stay patient and I will wait for

my chance. “It is not a case of having a number of appearances in

my mind for this season. “Around me there are a lot of experienced

players. I need to recognise that. “Also, I am training with them

every day and gaining experience all the time. “As long as I can

continue to do that, I am not even thinking about the number of

appearances I will make.” Boyata benefited from the presence of

Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure alongside him on Saturday. Although

Mancini has been loath to single out individuals for praise, rarely

during his entire time in England has Didier Drogba been out

muscled in the manner he was by Kompany. “We have other good

defenders but Kolo and Vincent are very strong at the moment,”

emphasised Mancini. “We have only conceded two goals in six games –

one penalty and one gift against Blackburn. That is very good.”

That statistic alone suggests City have to be ranked amongst the

Premier League title challengers. Yet Mancini insists the

championship with end up at Chelsea with some ease. Not everyone

agrees. And it seems one of the lessons Boyata has learned is not

to take everything his manager says at face value. “We have not

spoken about the manager’s comments inside the dressing room but he

probably said it because he could see the way Chelsea had played

from the beginning of the season,” he said. “I understand that. But

it doesn’t matter what he says. In his mind he is thinking about

winning the title too.” Meanwhile, Mancini is debating whether to

hand Boateng his first City start in Thursday’s Europa League tie

with Juventus at Eastlands. Boateng finally made his debut as a

late substitute against Chelsea after an injury-plagued start to

life with the Blues. The 22-year-old £10.4million signing from

Hamburg was due to make a late return for pre-season training

anyway after starring in Germany’s run to the World Cup

semi-finals. But he aggravated a knee injury in a bizarre collision

with an in-flight meals trolley last month, condemning him to a

further period of rehabilitation. Only last week was Boateng able

to join the City squad in training and he was far from fully fit on

Saturday, meaning Mancini preferred to use him off the bench.

However, with Juventus due in Manchester later this week and then

Newcastle on Sunday, the Blues boss is deciding what route to take

next. “Maybe Boateng will get a start,” said Mancini. “He needs to

take things very softly because I don’t think he is quite ready

yet. He needs to work and train.”