By definition, the word “perfection” means being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. It is this desire for perfection that makes Roberto Mancini a manager capable of remarkable things with Manchester City, a feat he is nowhere near achieving…just yet. Labelled ‘boring’, ‘negative’ and ‘cautious’ last season Mancini took a squad of highly paid stars to third place in the Premier League and ended Manchester City’s 35 year trophy drought. Some saw it as an impressive achievement, others suggested that it was inevitable given the strength of the squad and the money spent, irrespective of those opinions what’s clear is that inevitable or not it happened and for that Mancini deserves credit. If the greatest challenge in Mancini’s managerial career was delivering a trophy for Manchester City last season then that is usurped by the expectations of this season.
An impressive start to the campaign has seen the Blues beat Swansea City, Bolton Wanderers and, most notably, demolish Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane last weekend. With Edin Dzeko in mercurial form and David Silva mesmerising City fans with his sublime skill, add in Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and a benched Carlos Tévez and Roberto Mancini has an attacking line-up that strikes fear into the heart of all opposition. The Blues have scored 12 goals in three games so far this season and have set the Premier League alight with magnificent displays, performances which have been – prematurely – likened to Barcelona. Mancini, however, is well aware that terrific performances will increase expectation and with City already tipped to contend for the title, pressure will be piled on Mancini to deliver on the European as well as the domestic stage.
After another successful transfer window Manchester City have strengthened their squad and now have almost two internationals for every position, a squad which, according to Football Administrator Brian Marwood, is deemed worthy of challenging – if not winning – all four competitions it will compete in this season. Mancini is more or less capable of playing one team on a Saturday and then a completely new team midweek should he desire, something he could not manage to do last season. Last season, if you’d have said that Manchester City would travel to White Hart Lane without Carlos Tévez and Nigel De Jong in the team and come away with five goals and three points, people would have begun to talk and perhaps doubt your sanity. It’s funny how things can change in the space of a few months.
Having seen his side play some truly sensational football, witness the fans revel in the new-look Manchester City and observe the Blues hammer Tottenham 5-1 at White Hart Lane – a ground where City were fortunate to escape with a point last season – Roberto Mancini was still not satisfied. In his post match interview after the Bolton game it was clear to see his disappointment at the way his side had conceded two goals, despite an impressive performance, but most saw this as Mancini playing down his team’s attacking prowess. Yet, after the Spurs game his annoyance at conceding again resurfaced and it became apparent that Mancini strives for perfection. Manchester City have not yet had a perfect performance despite being unbeaten and scoring 12 goals, and judging by Mancini’s standards there won’t be a perfect performance for a long, long time. To the untrained eye, the performances may continue to be magnificent, but not to the City manager. There is more to come from this team, and he knows it.