Patrick Vieira paid tribute to Juventus's famed defensive obduracy after the Italian side left Manchester City FC with a 1-1 draw keeper Alex Manninger felt was the least they deserved.
Article top media content
Roberto Mancini's programme notes for Manchester City FC's UEFA Europa League meeting with Juventus recalled his boyhood support for the Turin club. He was not the only person of a sky-blue hue with nice words to say about Juventus after the Serie A side claimed a well-deserved point from their visit to the City of Manchester Stadium.
City midfielder Patrick Vieira praised the defensive obduracy of his old club, who frustrated the home team in a 1-1 draw. Although Adam Johnson cancelled out Vincenzo Iaquinta's spectacular opening strike, Mancini's men struggled to open up the visitors and very nearly lost as Alessandro Del Piero's late free-kick hit the crossbar and bounced down on to the goal line.
Vieira said: "When you go a goal behind it is always difficult against Italian sides. We managed to score and created a few chances but I think when Del Piero hit the woodwork we were quite lucky.
"We knew it would be difficult to break though their defence because they were really organised and defended really well as a team," he added. "We tried to move them from right to left to find a space, and we managed to score one goal. We should have scored more but the way it was we have to be pleased with the point."
Juventus goalkeeper Alex Manninger agreed that 1-1 was "the right result". He noted that Luigi Del Neri's side grew in confidence as the game progressed – a point illustrated by Juventus's increasing threat in the closing stages as City faded. "We did very well at the back, we scored the early goal and that definitely helped because we gained confidence during the game.
"That's what it is all about – to get down the other end and try to score and that's what we did. We put them under pressure even if they had more of the ball. They kept it wide, knocked a few crosses in and played good football but if you don't concede it makes you stronger. We defended well and that's what got us through the 90 minutes."
The result put City level on four points with KKS Lech Poznań, while Juventus are third with two going into their double-header with FC Salzburg. For the Austrian Manninger, the 21 October visit to his home city will hold special significance.
"I lived about a mile away from the stadium so it will be good," said the 33-year-old, who has had two spells playing for Salzburg and has friends at the club. "We want to win one of the two games, for sure. I know they're a good team and we have to be prepared, they will be up for it."