If Manchester City do not win the league this season only one man is to blame…

When the final whistle blows at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday May 13th an inquest will begin, regardless of whether Manchester City will have been crowned champions or not. With seven games remaining and a five point gap between them and league leaders Manchester United it seems an unlikely task. The optimists in the blue half of Manchester will claim that with United still having to play their title rivals City at the Etihad Stadium as well as needing to visit Everton and Sunderland before the season finishes it is not all over. The more pessimistic blues will admit that the title seems likely to head back to Old Trafford.

If Manchester City do fail in their pursuit of the Premier League title then there can be only one man to blame. Roberto Mancini’s side seem to have fallen at the last hurdle and are stumbling towards the finish line. There is time to rectify it but it is now out of their hands and that is where the inquest will begin. Having dominated the league for the majority of the season and seen a healthy goal advantage slip away questions will be asked of Mancini by the City hierarchy. The recent slump has happened at the worst possible time and has left many questioning whether City had the nerve and experience to stay the distance.

It is not just the stuttering league form that has raised eyebrows in the boardroom however; Mancini’s handling of internal difficulties such as the Carlos Tévez situation and his persistence in standing by Mario Balotelli are also causing problems.

When the young Italian eventually matures he may become a world class player but at the moment his talent remains described as ‘potential’. He has shown glimpses of his incredible skill on a number of occasions this season yet his general demeanour both on and off the pitch overshadows that. Whether he is setting his house ablaze with fireworks or driving around Manchester city centre in his Bentley handing out £20 notes, the Blues’ enigmatic striker is certainly favoured by Mancini. It is this favouritism though which could cost Mancini his job. On the one hand it is admirable that the manager has such faith in Balotelli yet, on the other, it could be seen as blind loyalty and one which is not benefiting the club.

Sir Alex Ferguson called it “desperation” but City saw it as moving on and making the best out of a bad situation. Carlos Tévez’ return to Manchester has received a mixed reaction. Some are willing to accept his apology, draw a line in the sand and move on – after all he is a wonderful footballer. Others however, cannot accept his apology and do not want him near the club. It was a fine balancing act for Mancini, a chance to show that nobody, despite their immense talent, is bigger than the club. He got it wrong.

Roberto Mancini appears to be feeling the pressure as the title race hots up.

 

Back in November it was clear that Mancini did not want Tévez to play for him ever again. He had disgraced himself, embarrassed the club and the manager but more importantly shown a complete lack of respect to everybody associated to Manchester City by refusing to come on as a substitute. The response from the team was sensational Premier League form and a prolonged spell at the top of the table. The response from Tévez was a five month holiday in Argentina and a refusal to apologise. It could have been so much easier if he had apologised straight away. Having said that, knowing Tévez, it probably took him those five months to learn how to say the word ‘sorry’ in English.

Despite this City have improved once again under Mancini, and although it is likely they will finish trophy less it is another step in the right direction. He deserves another season to continue building a side which is capable of staying the distance and progressing further in Europe but it remains to be seen if he will get it. With Jose Mourinho’s name being touted as a possible replacement there may be another managerial change at the Etihad Stadium.

Although unlucky with the injury and suspension of club captain Vincent Kompany at key points during the title challenge, Mancini has to take the blame for the demise of City’s season. To have such a healthy league position at the half way stage and to now be trailing United by five points is inexcusable. At times this season Mancini has had a cool exterior, yet at others he seems to be feeling the pressure. His failure to shake Tony Pulis’ hand at the Britannia Stadium a few weeks ago and subsequent refusal to speak to the media was not only undignified and unsporting, but also a sign that he was maybe cracking up. After all, Stoke City played as expected. They were strong, aggressive and difficult to beat.

It has been apparent for weeks that City’s maestro David Silva is either carrying an injury, fatigued or has just hit a bad run of form yet Mancini’s persistence in playing him is highlighting a problem within his team. With Samir Nasri not hitting the heights that many expected him to, Silva has been the main playmaker and it is finally taking its toll on the Spanish wizard. The Blues’ over reliance on Silva being the creative force indicates that Mancini is still not satisfied with the squad he has. He lacks quality wingers to change his team’s style of play and the lack of width has been identified as a major problem in recent weeks. Despite the charging runs of the likes of Gael Clichy and Micah Richards, width is a concern especially following the disappointing performances of Adam Johnson and Nasri over the season. With rumours suggesting City are lining up a move for Eden Hazard, expect Johnson to be sold in the summer with Liverpool a possible destination. They have a habit of overpaying for players who flatter to deceive.

With millions having been ploughed into the club, the Abu Dhabi based owners are looking for a return on their investment. It remains to be seen if they have the patience to acknowledge that despite a potentially disappointing end to the season Mancini has improved the side. There will be departures and arrivals in the summer that much is clear, but whether Roberto Mancini will be one of the departures only the Sheikh knows.

Will Mancini be the manager next season? Do you want him to stay? Leave your comments below.

 

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Published by

Matt Hill

Hi there! I'm Matt Hill, a 22-year-old sports journalist and broadcaster. Welcome to The Rising Blue. A blog predominantly about Manchester City FC. Thanks for visiting my site. If you like what you read (or don't like) hit me up for a chat on Twitter or add your comments to the story. You'll find me here: @matty_hill Any questions/recommendations/queries for the site or myself can be sent to matty.a.hill@gmail.com

20 thoughts on “If Manchester City do not win the league this season only one man is to blame…”

  1. I dont know if we can get Mourinho then yes sack Mancini. Nice guy love him and all but lack man management skills, media skills who the he’ll tell people I will punch and don’t trust Mario.., we need stability maybe Mancini deserves a second chance but the Sheik know what’s best..,

  2. Has to be Roberto, a new manager would bring a whole new mess that really cannot be realistic with new financial regulations coming into play, can’t afford another huge turnover of squad members at this stage. Progress has been made whatever way you look at it, I’m optimistic and this summer I never saw us mounting a title challenge up to May, if not this season then next season we will experience more success.

    Forza Mancini.

  3. For me, Mancini has done well. City are still growing. Progress is being made. Over the summer, whoever is the manager, needs to make a few tweaks here and there.

    1) For a start get rid of Tevez. Couldn’t care less where he goes. Don’t want to waste more time talking about him.
    2) If City are to keep Dzeko, then buy some more wingers. Adam Johnson isn’t enough on his own, and I don’t think his crossing ability is the best part of his game anyway. Dzeko needs crosses.
    3) Don’t kill Silva. Poor guys ankles will fall off, so need Nasri or someone else to step in with those killer balls.
    4) World Class centre back to help out Vinnie. I like Lescott, but if we are to compete on a world stage, we need better quality. Savic won’t get us there.
    5) If Balotelli could be more like Aguero and put a good shift in for 90 minutes in everygame then the two of them would destroy teams.

    I really don’t mind if City don’t win the title this year. We are improving, and Utd fans will celebrate more than ever. But that’s because they know we are here. We have arrived, and next year they will have to up their game even more……because we’ll be even better.

    1. Well as usual, city fan will always mention they are getting better, but until when? The result is winning the EPL trophy , merely saying improving is a weak statement. Other teams are also improving, except Liverpool..

  4. what a pile ‘o’ shite – are you really a blue ? with 7 games to go we’ve equalled our best points total in the perm league era, we beat the scum 6-1 in their own turd infested swamp, currently unbeaten at home in the league (in APRIL !) and you’re posting shit like this ? I can only assume you’re new to this football lark. You don’t recall the days of trevor christie, tony adcock, barry condom and bertie biggins… get over yourself, grow some and get behind the team ! lets rip into arse-nil finish the season 18-1-0 and celebrate not being redtards !

  5. get rid of balotelli and tevez..they court too much controversy and are a disgrace for the club. we need a solid centreback. sign mamadou sakho or mats hummel this summer. i hope dzeko stays and we also sign in hazard.

  6. SAF’s “mind games” have had no effect on the City performances because we’ve succumbed to our own home-distilled mind games, led by a manager who simply cannot resist embarrassing his own players in the media. Indulged Tevez and then Balotelli with predictable results, and in doing so, no doubt angered the rest of the squad. Ran Silva, with a chronic ankle problem, into the ground, as well as Yaya. No width or pace out wide, because he is stuck in a diamond formation mind warp. Benches crucial players just when they get hot (see Barry, Milner and Dzeko). Always has a moan after a loss, blaming the lack of players, even when he had Bellamy, Adebayor, RSC, SWP, Nedum, Bridge (okay, Wayne IS hopeless) all frozen out of the squad, even though he knew some would be impossible to move on sensibly at high wages. Usurped the Owner and Chairman with his Munich post-match “he is finished” sniff, thereby lowering his transfer fee price, and was so insistent on shooting off his mouth in front of the media that the Chairman issued a gag order on him and sent Vicky Kloss to pressers to make sure of that. Schizo back-and-forth in his handling of Mario, doing a positional 180 more fully and frequently than US GOP flip-flopper Mitt Romney. Savaged the medical staff for not being able to use their knowledge of the mantic arts to predict Aguero’s “stupid mistake” foot spray allergic reaction. Tells the media that the title may be lost with 6 fixtures to go, then reverses himself the next day, etc. Now is demanding more players with the allegedly United “mentality” after spending 250 million in less than two years, following massive investment by Hughesless. Jets home to Italy for 1 to 2 days after seemingly every weekend fixture instead of staying in Manchester and working with the squad, who of course then jet all over the world themselves during these periods.

    Yes, Mancini is doing an amazing job of “leading” the “Project” forward at warp speed. By all means, let’s double his salary and give him 5 more years, so he can remove all doubts as to his suitability for leading us no further than where we currently are…..but hey, who am I to carp, after all, as City fans, we have a genetically programmed imperative to obsess about our lean past and ignore the reality right before our eyes, because, you know, any and all criticism from without is designed to derail and destroy us (even though only 50% of it actually is 🙂 ).

  7. Sacking Mancini would set us on the same path as Chelsea. We are not Chelsea. If we want any success, in any year after this one, we need to keep our manager the same.

    Mancini has laid the framework and gotten in the players he’s wanted while offloading the players who don’t contribute, no matter how much we are paying them.

    If there’s one thing that can be admired by the scum is that having that their consistency at manager has allowed the entire system to be put in place and executed over a long period of time and that has allowed them to stay on top for so long.

    Roberto is that man for us. Not Mourinho, not Guardiola, not anyone. Stay the course and stick with the plan. We are still on track here and there are too many knee-jerk reactions out there. This isn’t a one year plan.

    Remember this, when this season is over, we will have probably amassed the highest point total we’ve had in our PL history. We now hold the record for most home wins on the trot. We are in the Champion’s League with the potential to be a pot 1 team in a couple years. And most of all…we’re RIGHT on the cusp of winning the league. If we don’t win it this year, we will most likely win it next (if we don’t change managers..which will set us back two or three years).

    Let that sink in. If I had told you this is where we’d be back in 2006. Would even THINK about sacking the current manager?

  8. I agree 100% with Simon above.
    Roberto had CITY playing brilliantly for most of the season.
    A slight dip in form from a few players has seen the goals drying up.
    CITY are the best team in the league and hopefully will stuff United again at our ground .
    RLFielding

  9. Hit the nail on the head. Mancini really ought to stay if we want some continuity. However, if Mourinho comes available, it’d be mad to overlook him as an immediate replacement. With Mourinho in charge, Mario will most certainly leave, given their history when they were at Inter Milan together. IF Mourinho comes, we will almost certainly have immediate title success, IF Mancini stays we will probably have title success in the coming seasons, however Mourinho is most likely to upsticks and move after he’s won everything given his track record. Who’d I rather have as manager? GOD KNOWS!

  10. This is how it feels to be city,
    This is how it feels to be small…

    ……

    The city is yours,
    The city is yourssss,
    20,000 empty seats,
    Are you ……. Sure 😉

  11. Somehow I managed here from the man utd newsnow page. Anyway as a united fan I obviously enjoy seeing city suffer as a result of arrogance. You can be arrogant when you can back it up. Anyways, I do feel at the moment that everybody in the media is enjoying the turmoil going on at city and it isn’t really fair. I think mancini is the best manager for city but they need to get rid of the tevez’ ballotelli’s, nasri’s and replace them with team players and players who will die for the cause. Anyway, being from manchester its nice to feel the buzz and the excitement and long may it continue. As long as liverpool don’t win it I’m happy

  12. Mancini screwed up big style when he took the likes of Everton and Swansea for granted. We never have easy game against Everton, and its one game,no matter how good we’re playing,I never look forward too. Yet Mancini plays a weakened team.

  13. Don’t always look for the easy excuse of the team failure to recapture their form and ultimately challenge the title. Firing manager is not always the answer, it is a team failure, not just the manager. You dont see Sir Alex get the boot during the time Man Utd finish 3rd or failed to retain the title. Grow up and stop looking for easy way out, let give the manager time to pin point the problem and fix the team. It takes time to do so, not just a huge investment.

    Sincerely Man Utd fan.

    Looking forward for next year, pretty much over for this season 🙂

  14. Give Mancini a break, he has done a great job. It takes a lot more than piles of money to win the league, particularly when fighting a Ferguson lead Utd. The next few years will be great as Ferguson continues to build his next great team while City continue to spend historic levels of cash on new players, although ultimately a new, young, and team oriented Utd will hold the upper hand despite City probably winning a 2-3 titles over a 7-8 year period. Expectations are simply too high in Eastlands. Ferguson is the greatest manager in English football and is sure to leave a top team for Mourinho to manage (he understands history and is sure to choose Utd over City when the time is right).

  15. I’m an Arsenal fan and I don’t think City have had a bad season. Yes you should have won the PL given the lead you had and I would be gutted if I were you. But you have progressed. You have the funds to buy more quality and you have a quality manager (provided you stick with him) to bring lots of success in the near future.

    Glad we beat you today though

  16. Well, I’ve read all your responses, but I still respectfully disagree. Mancini is an excellent tactician; he proven that time and again at City. However, his man and squad-management is terrible, and he has been borderline hysterical, both on the touchline and in the media, during the run-in. If you follow Serie A, you’ve seen this foreign film before, and you shouldn’t need the subtitles this time. How did Mancini do today at the Emirates? Great management starting Mario, marooning him on the left wing, and not subbing him off for Tevez or Dzeko at halftime, when every Blue on the planet knew that the second yellow was forthcoming. Mancini similarly melted down in his final season with Inter, where he lost the squad after feuding with Ibra, Vieira, Crespo, Adriano and wasn’t on speaking terms with Figo fox SIX months. Blamed the medical staff, made grandiose statements to the media (“I quit at end of season”) and then would do 180’s the following day, stopped speaking to the media altogether, etc. They blew an 11 point lead late (sound familiar?) but just clinched the Scudetto in the final match. Moratti sacked him anyway, and did not regret it, as Mourinho delivered a Scudetto and a CL trophy.

    Just look at the away form down the stretch – 2 wins in 10 matches, 5 goals scored. The players are totally beaten-down – just look at their faces during play. Today they tried, and worked, but the early-season magic is gone, and with Mancini retained, it will not reappear next season. Mancini has made taken the squad forward, no doubt about that, but he’s hit the wall, just like at Inter, and someone else simply must be brought in to take us further to glory. Maybe Mourinho, maybe Hiddink. The former will come if Real win the CL, and the latter has an out-clause for this summer in his Anzhi contract. Can any of you Blues really tell me that either of them wouldn’t be a vast improvement?

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