Zenit St Petersburg boss Roberto Mancini has praised Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers ahead of the pair’s upcoming clash in the Europa League.

According to the Daily Record, Mancini believes that the Celtic boss was unlucky to lose his job at Liverpool earlier in his career and revealed how the two came close to working alongside each other.

During Mancini’s time in charge of Manchester City, he met with Rodgers to discuss the possibility of the now Celtic boss joining City’s coaching team.

Rodgers didn’t join Manchester City and would go on to manage Swansea, who he guided to the Premier League before moving on to pastures new.

Brendan had the chance to be a coach with me a few years ago when – it seems like – we were a lot younger! Brendan is a very good manager.

He did great work at Liverpool and was really unlucky to lose his job at Anfield. He was so unfortunate not to win the Premier League with them back in 2014 – and then later he was gone.

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The Hoops are due to welcome the Russian side to Celtic Park on Thursday night in the first leg of their last 32 clash.

Mancini was also full of praise for the Scottish Champions ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

Celtic are a great team, with some really good players, and they’ve got a top manager who I know all about.

To play at Celtic Park will be difficult for us because those supporters are incredible. The crowd will be fantastic for the first match but for us, it’s a great place to play football.