Wayne Bridge has revealed why watching Roberto Mancini manage Italy to victory in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday “really hurt” him.
A penalty shootout defeat at Wembley extended England’s major trophy drought to at least 56 years but there was added pain for the former Chelsea man, who was forced to watch his nemesis celebrate victory over the nation he represented 36 times.
Bridge and Mancini worked together at Manchester City but the two did not see eye to eye, with Bridge losing his role as first-choice left-back before being sent out on loan by the Italian.
The relationship precipitated the demise of his career, as brief spells at West Ham and Sunderland were followed by a move to second-tier Brighton and then a permanent transfer to Reading.
Bridge retains a resentment for the 56-year-old, who led City to their first Premier League title in 2012.
“It [Italy’s Euros triumph] really hurt me because I hate Mancini, everyone knows I have no love for him,” he told bettingexpert (via the Mirror).
“I wouldn’t say he’s the worst I’ve had, but tactically he isn’t that great. What he did was good, which hurts to say.
“Not only was my family cheering for England, they were cheering that Mancini was losing, so it hurt us even more. I never really got him as a manager.”
Bridge even went as far as to discredit Mancini’s Premier League title win, claiming it was the players’ success, not his.
“All credit to what he did at Manchester City when winning the league, so City fans will love him, but if you look at the players and the squad that he had, that’s what won it, not him as a manager,” he said.
“I fell out with him. I was there for a few months and we got on well but I didn’t enjoy training at all.
“We did team shape against mannequins and as a full-back we’re told ‘you’re going to pass it to him or to him, if you pass it there then run that way, if you pass it to him go that way,’ you’d have two options and that was it and playing against mannequins isn’t football.
“[Craig] Bellamy was trying to ask a question ‘what happens if this happens in a game,’ and Mancini would say ‘shut up, be quiet’ and in the end he sent him home and he wouldn’t have him back at training.
“As a manager, I really don’t get it.”