Silva is world class – Mancini

The City manager is baffled that Barcelona and Real Madrid

overlooked the gifted midfielder, signed from Valencia in 2009, who

has played a dominant role in the club’s 100% start to the season.

Mancini said: “Silva is a top, top player. I don’t know why he

didn’t go to Barca or Real Madrid because he’s Spanish but we are

lucky because he’s here. “If he had gone to Barca two years ago

everyone would say he’s one of the best players in the world – and

he is one of the best players in the world. “He’s different from

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo because they are strikers and score a

lot of goals but I think he’s the same as Xavi and Iniesta.” City

will make their debut in the Champions League on Wednesday when

Napoli come to Manchester, and Mancini will hope to reap the

dividends of a rotation policy that is one of the benefits of his

large and talented squad. Mancini admits the players may not be

happy to kick their heels on the bench – for example Edin Dzeko did

not play a minute of City’s 3-0 win over Wigan at the weekend

despite scoring four goals in the previous match. Mancini said:

“They may not be happy – that’s impossible because every player

wants to play always, but I’m the manager and I need to take this

decision. “Now we have a difficult match coming up, we play every

three days and these players like Edin, Kolarov, Savic, Nasri have

played two games in four days and they need to recover. “We have a

long year and I need all the players to be available as much as

possible and sometimes it’s better that they rest. “We have the

first game in the Champions League for the club, it will be an

exciting night but we need to have a focus and make sure we beat

them.” Mancini accepts that Serie A is behind the Premier League in

terms of quality but insists City should not think they can stroll

to victory against the Italian side, who were from the pot of

fourth seeds in last month’s Champions League draw but have a

pedigree in the competition going back to the days when Diego

Maradona ruled the roost in Naples. He added: “I think at this

moment Serie A is behind the Premier League but in the Champions

League it’s different. “For Napoli it will be the first time in the

European Cup after many years, after Maradona, and for them, like

us, the first night will be very exciting. “They are a very good

team and the Champions League is not like the Premier League, we

only have six games and you need to win always if you want to go in

the second stage. “It’s strange because our group is a very hard

group and all the teams can finish top or in fourth position.” City

of course, have the Maradona connection too now – Sergio Aguero,

who has already hit six goals this season, is the Argentinian

legend’s son-in-law. Mancini said: “I don’t know if Maradona will

support Naples or City – he will have mixed feelings!”