The Manchester City boss has admitted the winger will want to prove a point to him and has the ability to cause his team problems ahead of the two sides' clash on Saturday
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is fully aware of the threat Adam Johnson possesses, as he prepares to welcome the winger back to the Etihad Stadium for the first time since his move to Sunderland.
The 25-year-old grew frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities under the Italian’s stewardship, prompting him to depart for the Stadium of Light in August.
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"I think Adam played well here," Mancini told reporters. "The problem was maybe that he didn't play always. For young players like him it is important to play every game.
"I am sure he will do well for Sunderland and go to another top team because he deserves this. He is a good guy and a good player.
"I hope he can have a good game on Saturday because I like Adam, I think he is a really good player."
Mancini wants his players to be fully focused on the task in hand, after Sunderland became the only team to take four points off the Premier League champions last season.
He added: "Last year Sunderland took four points against us and it is important we know this will be a tough game.
"It is very difficult because every time Sunderland play against us they play a fantastic game."