Forward Mancini was surprised to find himself in the starting line-up for the AS Roma's 2-0 victory against FC Dynamo Kyiv in their opening Group F fixture.
Given the nod
"I'd already told the boys to go out there and enjoy themselves but I'm really happy to have played and now the most important thing is to rest and recover my strength," said the Brazilian who had missed the start of the Serie A campaign through injury. "It had been a bit hard watching from the sidelines with my team-mates playing so well so yes it was a bit of a surprise getting the call to play from the boss."
One of half the side to be involved in Simone Perrotta's beautifully crafted ninth-minute opener, coach Luciano Spalletti replaced Mancini after 61 minutes. "The change had been planned as I'm probably not fully match fit but I'm getting close to 100 per cent now," said Mancini. "Football is my life so I'm happy to be back playing. It's always nice to play in front of a big crowd. The Roman public are very generous. They always form part of the spectacle."
Game of risk
Roma's crowd-pleasing style has won admirers but Mancini admits there is an element of risk involved: "There was a five or ten-minute spell before half-time when we slowed but we have capable midfielders like [Daniele] De Rossi and [Alberto] Aquilani who are able to move the ball quickly around. They risk a bit too but if not, we wouldn't be able to play the way we do."
After finishing runners-up for a second consecutive season, the club from the Eternal City have added a number of players to their squad including defenders Juan and Cicinho. "We have a more technical, creative group this year - Roma are becoming Brazilian," added Mancini. "It's way too early to say if we are good enough to win the Champions League though. This is only our first game. We have to take it slowly and not become overconfident." Roma top Group F on goal difference ahead of Manchester United FC, who they meet at Old Trafford on Matchday 2.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.