Posts Tagged ‘roberto mancini’
Regardless of the comments or excuses offered by Roberto Mancini, Manchester City’s performance in the Champions League has been dreadful.
As is widely reported, City have recorded the lowest points total of any English club in the history of the competition.
They were the first English club who have failed to win any of their six group games.
And, before any excuses are heard about the difficulty of the group that Man City were in, it should be noted that only once in 18 campaigns have a team from Scotland performed worse in a Champions League group.
When the Champions League draw was made in August, Borussia Dortmund were always going to be a side who would through any group wide open. They were, due to a weak European record in recent seasons, amongst the fourth seeds of clubs.
For Man City to be in a group with not only the highly regarded German champions, but also Real Madrid was certainly unfortunate. But for all of Mancini’s complaints of the task facing his own players, shouldn’t the same have been said about their rivals, too?
Neither Real Madrid nor Borussia Dortmund would have welcomed having to play against the winners of the Premier League – the most costly team of superstars ever put together by an English club.
Ajax wouldn’t have relished any of their fixtures, and before a ball was kicked would probably have settled for third place as a reasonable achievement. That Frank de Boer’s team also gave Man City a European footballing lesson only adds to the sense that Mancini and his players have greatly disappointed.
There are frequent references to the seeding system, but Man City, amongst the third seeds last year, were among the eight clubs in the second pot of seeds.
If anyone at the club wants to be higher, they need to earn it by winning games in Europe. A top seeding is one thing that money cannot buy, as Real Madrid themselves found out after slipping out of the top seeds in 2010 following years of under achievement. Juventus, too, are in the process of fighting their way back to the top from a lowly position in the rankings, and have faced a tough group of their own with Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Man City will get another chance next year, no doubt. But surely there will be questions asked of whether Mancini is the man to lead them through another campaign, because little seems to have been learned from last season’s European collapse.
And whatever he might say to the contrary, this season’s showing has been an embarrassment.
Man City claimed the win required to see them move three points clear, but manager Roberto Mancini continues to give the impression of a manager feeling some considerable pressure in the hunt for silverware.
Mancini’s demeanor during pre-match interviews of late has been downbeat, and he persists in bemoaning the lack of points collected in games against West Brom and Sunderland as if some sort of grave injustice had taken place.
Instead, both opponents had simply defended extremely well and, in Sunderland’s case, successfully gambled on sneaking a win at a stage in the game when City would have no time at all to bounce back.
“That’s football”, as Mancini himself conceded in reference to those games, albeit in the tone of a manager who still hasn’t quite recovered from the sheer cheek of West Brom and Sunderland in not allowing City the three points that they were entitled to.
The Italian would do well to remember Man City’s games against Villarreal, who were the better footballing side for much of the sides’ first Champions League meeting but lost to a Sergio Aguero winner with three seconds of injury time remaining, and Liverpool, who dominated during most of the league encounter at Anfield and would have won the game in injury time through Andy Carroll had it not been for a wonder save by Joe Hart.
That Villarreal left Manchester empty-handed, and Liverpool took a point instead of the three they deserved is also “just football”.
Mancini is also allowing refereeing decisions to cause more frustration than they should, and in the space of only two weeks has been at the centre of four separate moments of controversy following decisions by officials.
Against Liverpool two weeks ago, Martin Skrtel conceded a penalty within a minute of Gareth Barry being dismissed for City after two cynical fouls within minutes of each other.
Despite the award of a penalty – highly debatable and which itself could have been turned into a controversial moment, should Liverpool have made much more of it post-match – Skrtel remained on the pitch.
No doubt frustrated by having witnessed the dismissal of one of his own, a decision which he later voiced his disagreement with, Mancini’s response was to wave an imaginary card, urging the officials to issue a red card to the Liverpool defender.
He later apologised for making the much-criticised gesture, promising he wouldn’t do it again.
Such a promise, like many people’s resolutions, lasted a mere seven January days, and the imaginary card surfaced once again in a clash with Liverpool, this time in the Carling Cup.
Having seen his captain sent off for a two footed tackle only days earlier during their FA Cup defeat to Man United, Mancini was incensed that Glenn Johnson escaped sanction for exactly the same thing.
It obviously didn’t cross Mancini’s mind that he had argued strongly against Vincent Kompany’s sending off, claiming it shouldn’t have been a red card. Presumably referees had taken note and therefore didn’t believe that Glenn Johnson’s challenge warranted a red card, either.
Another factor in that incident was in Mancini’s gesture, only days after he’d accused Wayne Rooney of the same thing. The hypocrisy was not lost on Steve Gerrard, who made his feelings towards Mancini known after the game.
Unfortunately, even after the negative press in which Mancini has received, the card-waving gesture resurfaced yet again last night during the latter stages of their narrow victory at Wigan.
Manchester City are in pole position in the league and are still competing in two cup competitions.
For it to remain that way, with four months of the season still to go, Roberto Mancini needs to calm himself down and not take so much to heart because there’ll be more refereeing inconsistencies, and more decisions which seem to go against his team along the way.
But then, that’s just football.
It may be advantage Liverpool after their first leg win last night, but the tie is far from over.
Liverpool though, showed yet again that they can compete with the best and, without making the same kind of mistakes that were evident when the sides met in the league a week ago, were rewarded for their performance.
Roberto Mancini bemoaned the lack of 3 or 4 players, but for Man City to refer to their absentees as any kind of reason for defeat simply highlights that Mancini perhaps isn’t as special a manager as some of his players would try to have us believe.
He has a tremendously talented squad at his disposal, and coping with the absence of key players is part of the game and the job of the manager is to find a solution with the players he has available in reserve.
There’s no doubt that missing Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and David Silva is going to weaken any team, but Liverpool were without key players of their own with Suarez suspended and Lucas, Liverpool’s player of the season last year, having been ruled out for the season since November.
In addition, Jay Spearing had to be withdrawn and Steve Gerrard is only recently back from long term injury.
Liverpool haven’t got the same strength in-depth as Man City, but have done what they have to do and simply got on with it.
Man City need to do the same if they’re have any desires of turning the tie around because no-one will have sympathy for a manager whose club have invested over half a billion pounds on players during the last few years.
Why so quiet?
Whilst on the topic of last night’s match, why were there so many empty seats and such a subdued atmosphere in the ground for much of the game, particularly the first half?
The riches invested in achieving Champions League football and competing for the title may have raised expectations, but surely not to the point which has led the fans to appear so disinterested in a semi final match in their own stadium against local rivals?
It may be true that some of the bigger clubs haven’t always prioritized the League Cup, but both Man United and Chelsea have treated it seriously enough to win the competition multiple times in the last few years, despite having bigger trophies still to fight for.
It’s simply the mark of a big club to go for whatever silverware is on offer, particularly in the latter stages of a competition.
With their FA Cup semi final of last season having taken place on a neutral venue, this was amongst the biggest games Man City have played at home for some time but their was a lack of the atmosphere that the club has once famous for.
Anfield itself is no longer what it once was, but there is always a full house for a big match and a fantastic atmosphere can be expected in two weeks’ time – even if it is ‘only’ the Carling Cup.