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Andrea Mancini on Dad beating Juventus, Galatasaray fans and Italy U21 hopes

It's a good moment for the Mancini family.

Fresh from making his league debut for Budapest Honved, former Manchester City midfielder Andrea Mancini made his way to Istanbul last week to support his Dad ahead of Galatasaray's make-or-break Champions League game with Juventus.

Roberto Mancini oversaw one of Gala's greatest victories, guiding his new team to the knockout phase and dumping Juve out of the competition in the process.

Any thoughts of Mancini having sympathy for Juve is quickly dispelled by Andrea, though he admits he would've liked to have seen both clubs qualify from their group.

"There aren't really mixed emotions," Andrea told tribalfootball.com. "You know, it is a very great feeling to knock out a team like Juventus - even if they're Italian.

"Not because it is Juventus, but just because...

"Working in a foreign country with a foreign team, it is always nice to play against an Italian team and to win. Though, I have to say it would have been better, maybe, if Galatasaray and Juve had both gone through for the sake of Italian football."

Andrea admits there was plenty of tension around the game, which had to be played over 24 hours due to a snow storm.

"It was great win for the team - and for my Dad, obviously. It was a very difficult game, lasting almost 24 hours and against a strong side, in very difficult weather conditions.

"But fortunately, in the end, Galatasaray proved themselves stronger.

"All the family was very happy."

Andrea is on a midseason break from Budapest Honved, where he has recently nailed down a regular first team start under coach Marco Rossi. The midfielder, who came through the youth system at Inter Milan, admits the facilities at Galatasaray are a match for anything he's seen.

"The facilities of Galatasaray are really nice, they have everything and are very similar to Man City and Inter.

"Y'know, Gala is a very big team - one of the biggest in Europe, I think!"

Mancini knows all about the passion of Gala's famous support. Within hours of his Dad being confirmed as Fatih Terim's successor, he suddenly had thousands of new followers on Twitter - all well-wishing Gala fans.

"The stadium? I can't describe it, I think it is the best stadium and atmosphere in Europe! It is something unbelievable. The supporters are the best!

"When they say 'Welcome to Hell' - they are completely right!"

Ahead of Christmas, the Mancini family can look to 2014 with great optimism. After a difficult final six months at Manchester City, Roberto has landed on his feet at Gala, with a glamourous return to England for a Champions League tie with Chelsea to look forward to.

And for Andrea, after a slow start to his career in Hungary, the 21 year-old finished the first-half of the campaign as a first-choice for coach Rossi - in both Cup and League action.

"Yes, in the last three games I've started all three, it's very important for me," continued Andrea.

"The results weren't what we wanted, even though we played really good football, but we couldn't finish our chances and in football when you don't score you lose the game!

"But I was happy for starting in all three games!"

It could've been very different just last month, when a bumper offer from a major European power arrived for him to consider

"Yes, this is true. I had an offer in the past month. A director from a team called me, but I rejected it straight away. I see my future here at Honved In Hungary."

That commitment has since been rewarded by Rossi and Mancini hopes his form can now lead to an U21 call with Italy.

"I hope the manager (Gigi di Biagio) of the Italy U21s will give me a chance to prove that I can compete In the national team. I will work every day to improve as a player here at Honved under a great manager like Marco Rossi."

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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