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Shay Given claims Roberto Mancini made Man City players train against ‘ghosts’

The former City goalkeeper has revealed what life at the club was like with the Italian as manager

In hindsight, Roberto Mancini’s spell as Manchester City manager was pretty successful.

The Italian delivered the club’s first ever Premier League trophy after all, and brought about their jump from top-flight also-rans to regular title contenders.


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But sadly, his argumentative attitude and bizarre way of doing things during his 2009–2013 spell at City is perhaps what’s best remembered nowadays – which has been further reiterated by former goalkeeper Shay Given’s recent revelations.

Given played under Mancini between 2009 and 2011

PA:Press Association
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Given played under Mancini between 2009 and 2011

Speaking to Off The Ball, Given gave a pretty hilarious insight into what life was like working under Mancini.

In particular, the current Zenit manager’s training drills sound pretty mental.


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In one instance, he recalls how players were left baffled when he insisted they play against ‘ghosts’ in training.

The Irish ‘keeper was part of the side that won the FA Cup

PA:Empics Sport
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The Irish ‘keeper was part of the side that won the FA Cup

Given said: “You couldn’t make it up.

“His very first training session he got the ball and threw it to me and I had to pass it to the full-back, back to me, back to the other side.

“Then we would go through the lines of the pitch and Carlos Tevez or whoever goes in and finishes it into an empty net, there’s not even an opposition goalkeeper.

“Then we would do it again.

Mancini is remembered for clashing with his players during training sessions

AFP
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Mancini is remembered for clashing with his players during training sessions

“It was all a bit weird. I don’t even know from a coaching point of view what the benefit was from that.

“There weren’t even mannequins, you were playing nobody!

“We were brilliant against nobody on a Thursday and it got a bit more complicated when there were some players against us on a Saturday.”

No wonder they lost to Wigan in the FA Cup Final, eh?