Mancini – Right or Wrong

By jimbo101, Thu 16 May 2013 14:56

Mancini – Right or WrongA Mancini "inner" gives his view on the Italian's sacking

I write this in the aftermath of the Reading game, having sought out and listened to opinions other than my own, and those somewhat excitable posts on Bluemoon.

Let me first put on the record that I am a devout ‘inner’ and will never be converted to an ‘outer’. Forza Mancini - in Mancini we trust.

I ignored the relentless stream of anti-Mancini stories doing the rounds and wrote them off as yet more evidence of the perceived media bias against City.

I defended him (and still will) against the ‘outers’. Isn’t it weird that we chose to believe some stories and ignore others depending on whether they back up our ‘inner’ or ‘outer’ status.

That we had a really tough Champions League Group was a mainstay of defending a group stage exit, whilst subtly ignoring the comparatively easy route to the FA cup final.
Similarly, the failure to land RvP was continually stated, by Bobby himself no less, as being the main reason for us not retaining our title.

However, despite my irrevocable support of Mancini I also have an unshakeable belief in the best owners of the best football club in the world. They have appointed the 2 Spaniards to fully overview the club and their decision is that it is time for a change.

Right or Wrong? First off, I along with 99.9% of everyone else on here, have absolutely no personal knowledge of the backroom shenanigans or politics that have been/are going on.
Just because the same old media hacks keep regurgitating the same old ‘lost the dressing room’ stories, doesn’t make it so. So I will try to make a case on purely footballing grounds.

As we all know, Mancini took over from Mark Hughes, a manager that the owners inherited, backed with huge sums of money and gave him 18 months. Only when it became clear he was pretty clueless did they remove him – hardly a ‘knee jerk’ reaction. Remember the media stories about Mancini being in the stadium and what a poor decision it was? You can see why I am trying so hard to ignore anything emanating from the press when formulating my opinions (we had inners and outers then too!).

Mancini came in, managed to get defenders to defend, and most of us could see the building blocks that were being laid. Yes, some of the play was overly defensive, but you could actually see a tactical plan & a proper team shape coming together.

It did take time to win some of us (not me) over – “£220k a week for a defensive midfielder? What a waste that YaYa Toure is!” “get it forwards”, but all lingering doubts were firmly laid to rest with what that season presented us. A trophy. The first manager in (my) lifetime to win anything. Real quality players added to the squad – real improvement.

Then last season. Quite simply, the best football I have ever seen from a City team and possibly from any English team. Scintillating, incisive, destructive. Breathtaking at times, with a sporadic sprinkling of exasperation. Most goals scored, least conceded, 2 wins over them. How we only managed to win on goal difference is one of the great mysteries of the modern world. Again, real, measurable and appreciable improvement.

Then to this season. No improvement. Mancini clearly blamed others for this, regularly citing the failure to sign key players as the main reason. Whilst it is difficult to argue against the view that deducting RvP’s goals from them and adding them to us would dramatically alter the eventual outcome, you simply cannot ignore the fact that we haven’t played as well as last season, individually or as a team.

It is too simplistic to blame purely the lack of signings, just as it is implausible to blame it all on Mancini’s management style.

Which brings me onto Europe.

Even taking into account the extremely tough opponents (no Otelul Galati or FC Cluj for us) our tactical naivety was cruelly exposed, particularly this year.

Mancini has overseen 14 European away ties with City (Europa and Champions League) – how many do you think he’s won? 4. Yes, just 4. And 2 of those were the first 2 games – Timisoara & Salzburg. There was also Villareal who were missing half of their regulars.
The only meaningful win was Porto. Not a ringing endorsement made worse by the fact that shadowing our league form, our European form this season was atrocious. Outplayed and out-thought in pretty much every game.

Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, we have gone backwards this season.

If I had to make a case for sacking Mancini based on this seasons performances I could easily do so.

If I had to make a case for keeping Mancini based on this seasons performances I could easily do so.

Neither case is hugely compelling though, and definitely not strong enough on its own to justify a sacking. Which leads me to what, in my opinion, is the real reason for his dismissal.

The word that stuck out like a beacon when I first read the press release on Monday night.
Holistic – what a strange word to put in a statement, but accurately sums up what the Spanish duo are after. A manager who will inspire, influence and lead the whole club, not just the first team. In their opinion that man was not Mancini. And patently not Mourinho either.

Mancini will always have my utmost respect and admiration, no matter what comes out over the coming days and weeks. He delivered more silverware in 3 years than I ever thought I would see in my lifetime. For this I will be eternally grateful.

But this, as a fan, is exactly why I am in no position to judge the decision to remove him. My judgement is clouded by my days out at Wembley. These hardnosed decisions need to be taken by those who know and understand the whole picture and those who are setting the agenda. Gladly that’s not me.

Thank you Mancini. Thank you for everything.

The King is dead. Long live the King.