If Roberto Mancini is under pressure at Manchester City, then the world really has gone mad. For him to be thrown into a high pressure job, with expectations of improving the already reasonable performances seen under Mark Hughes, the least he deserves is till the end of next season to prove he can do that.
The amount of paper talk claiming that a defeat away to Stoke in the FA Cup leaves him on borrowed time is scandalous. Stoke are a tough nut to crack, especially at the Britannia Stadium, and Mancini is still getting used to such challenges. He is working with players left to him by Eriksson and Hughes, and while these are unmistakeably very good players, since being assembled they have rarely looked like a team. We have seen moments of individual flair, yes, but very little determination, and very little hard graft. Steven Ireland, Craig Bellamy, and Carlos Tevez should be automatic starters if Man City are to overhaul their top 4 rivals. They combine talent with a work-ethic, in such a way that the likes of Robinho and Adebayor can only dream of.
Roberto Mancini has already shown he understands what sort of players are needed to succeed in this fast-paced Premier League. His ruthless disposal of Robinho, while being an admittedly populist move, similar to Steve McClaren’s treatment of David Beckham as England manager, made perfect sense. At home, Manchester City have few problems. Last season, Robinho lit up Eastlands at times, but few other stadia. This season his enigmatic candle went out altogether, and Mancini realised this immediately.
Mancini can also not be blamed for a defence containing such mishaps as Joleon Lescott. Possibly the most expensive transfer blunder Manchester has seen since Veron, he has made nine appearances in a City shirt, and few of them impressive. Wayne Bridge is also cause for concern, and he has clearly been adversely affected by recent romantic unpleasantness, of which we need no further debate! Again, this situation will not be solved by getting rid of Mancini.
While I have advocated, and still do so, the removal of Benitez, that is a totally different situation. Giving managers time for the sake of stability is clearly not the best idea, but Mancini’s record at Inter proves that he warrants a real chance. If, at the end of next season, his side have still not cracked the top 4, after his summer of squad building, then he will have few complaints. But right now, the supporters and surrounding media are doing him few favours. Let the man do his job, and things will improve.
We’ve all seen the damage of managerial instability at Newcastle, and at Portsmouth. Chelsea are probably the only club in the country that have managed to get away with such trigger-happy running of the club, and that is tantamount to the quality of player that Mourinho attracted during his time at the club. Right now, Man City do not have enough of that type of player. In the summer it will be up to Mancini to put together such a squad, but for him to be under even the slightest pressure before he has had that chance, is enough to make you lose whatever remaining faith you have in the people pulling the strings of English football.