"He wanted to stay at Inter and I'm happy about that now," said Roberto Mancini after Fredy Guarín – a target while he was Galatasaray AŞ boss – scored against Celtic FC.
Article top media content
• Roberto Mancini happy that goalscorer Fredy Guarín chose to stay at Inter last year
• Coach admits he enquired about the Colombian during his Galatasaray AŞ reign
• "He wanted to stay at Inter and I'm happy about that now," says Mancini
• "This is certainly a good period for me and for the team," adds Guarín
• Follow Friday's round of 16 draw on UEFA.com, with live streaming from 13.00CET
Last season, Roberto Mancini called Fredy Guarín to ask if the Colombian international would be interested in joining him at Galatasaray AŞ. A year on, and now in charge at FC Internazionale Milano, Mancini is delighted that his offer was turned down.
Having scored three goals in his last three Serie A games, the midfielder's fantastic strike two minutes from time against Celtic FC gave Inter a 1-0 win, smoothing the Nerazzurri's path to the UEFA Europa League round of 16 after a 3-3 first-leg draw in Glasgow.
"I called him because I knew that he was a good player and I thought he could be very useful for us," explained Mancini, Inter coach since November 2014. "He wanted to stay at Inter and I'm happy about that now – he is playing very well here."
Mancini's arrival helped revive Guarín after a difficult start to the campaign, with the 28-year-old impressing on the right side of midfield in the coach's 4-3-1-2 system. "This is certainly a good period for me and for the team," Guarín said after the game. "I knew that things would change and that we would start to play with enthusiasm and joy, and that's exactly what we are doing right now."
Guarín's fantastic strike against Celtic came as no real surprise for his coach. "He has always had a great shot," Mancini explained. "Maybe in the past he tried too hard to bring the ball forward when he is more dangerous when he bursts forward from midfield without the ball and looking to place the ball or go for power. He can do both of those things very well."
He also knows what it takes to win the UEFA Europa League, having lifted the trophy with FC Porto in 2010/11. "We have to take it one game at a time, starting with our next outing in the league, which is very important," he said. "Things are changing [at Inter] – and most of all, the results are changing too."