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Mancini: Vieira has got years at the top

Roberto Mancini can see no reason why Patrick Vieira should not play on for another three seasons.

Vieira set up Emmanuel Adebayor's excellent second in a 2-0 win for Manchester City against local rivals Bolton at Eastlands last night that allowed them to join Liverpool in the hotly contested battle for fourth spot.

It was the perfect response to jibes that the former Arsenal captain is over the hill, and his reaction to a suggestion that he might need a rest following his first game in a month -- a curt "Am I that old?" -- did not give the impression Vieira is all that happy with the chatter.

Mancini certainly does not feel there is even a grain of truth in the theories. And having won a coveted Serie A title in Italy when he was 36, the City boss feels Vieira can follow his example.

"I played until I was 36 and I was still playing well," countered the Italian. "I won the Scudetto at that age, so I see no reason why Patrick can't carry on as well.

"First of all I hope he can play another 15 games for us in the league this season because his performances are going to be very important."


Fellow new-boy Adam Johnson, an £8m deadline-day arrival from Championship side Middlesbrough, took all the plaudits thanks to a fine man of the match display that brightened up an otherwise below-par performance from the cash-rich Blues.

Johnson unhinged the Bolton defence with his direct running.

Added to that ability, Johnson can also pick out a decent cross, which makes him a rare breed in the modern game.

"That is why we bought him (Johnson)," declared Mancini.

"He is a young player who wants to do well. He can play on both the left and the right and he can also play behind the main striker.

"He can continue to grow and I think he can be a very important player for this club."

It was Johnson who created City's first-half opener when he surged past left-back Paul Robinson, although he appeared to be heading over the byline when the Bolton defender chopped him down. Tevez rifled home his 19th goal of the season from the penalty spot, which hit Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen on the way in.

"It was a soft penalty," grumbled Bolton manager Owen Coyle.

"City have a squad that cost over £200m and we made them look ordinary.

"If they are honest, they will admit they were fortunate (to win)."