Mancini missing the mark?

It’s a question often asked of some of the best managers at the best clubs. Would they be able to cut it at clubs with a finite supply of transfer funds and a strict wage budget- clubs such as Wolves and Stoke, as oppose to Real Madrid and Manchester City? The glossy-haired but perhaps underachieving Roberto Mancini of Manchester City has become one of the prime targets for this kind of questioning. Previously, Mancini has rescued success in the darkest of situations, namely at Fiorentina, where he won the Coppa Italia whilst they were in a dire financial situation, but also Lazio, who are not exactly blessed with funds. Now he finds himself in the unique position of having gone from ‘rags to riches’ as it were, first with Inter and now with one of the world’s richest clubs- Manchester City. Has he traded overachieving for underachieving?

On the final day of the Premier League season, Aguero slotted home to give Man City the title after a gut-wrenching 90 minutes. The crowd went wild and so too Roberto Mancini, but later when he would come to examine the match video, something would surely be niggling away in the back of his mind. Shouldn’t City have won the title more convincingly? There were times when they thought they had thrown it away. The Emirates where Mario Balotelli lost his temper. The hard-fought loss against Swansea. Perhaps too early on, but when Man City lost their first game of the season to… Ji Dong-Won’s Sunderland. Indeed, Mancini’s tactics have been often criticised.

There were even grumblings the season before, when City finished miraculously third, after a spectacular collapse from Arsenal in the final stages. With the amount of money that the Sheikh had poured into Man City, they should have easily made it into the Champions League by this stage. What many people don’t realise, is that those dying moments of the QPR game in which City turned it around saved Mancini’s job.

It would have represented an almighty turnaround in fortune if Mancini hadn’t won the League, from when City had been crusing to when it looked as if United would win the title. His record in the Champions League is questionable with Italian clubs, and for City their 2012-13 debut in Europe’s top competition ended in heartbreak as they threw away a 2-1 lead at the Bernabeu to lose 3-2 in what was a clash of the titans.

But there are, inevitably, some positives to Mancini’s reign. Otherwise, why would the Chairman have sacked such an experienced Premier League manager as Mark Hughes and replace him with this stylish Italian? His man-management skills have come in handy often. Tevez’s refusal to come off the bench against Bayern Munich is well-documented, but the way that Mancini handled the situation is often understated. Now back firing in goals at the Etihad, supporters are once again singing the Argentine’s name. It is overlooked that Mancini was the one that got a whole squad of ‘mercenaries’ dancing to the same tune just in time to pip United to the post, and nobody can doubt they were deserving winners.

The problems still linger, especially with City not having kept a clean sheet as of yet in the Premier League or Champions League, but for now Man City persist with Roberto Mancini. We can only hope that one day Mancini will switch on his computer and play a game of Football Manager as Stoke City. We’d love to see it happen, Roberto. 


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