This season Roberto Mancini has not managed to live up to the high expectations he set himself last season by capturing the Premier League title. Fans will not be able to relive the incredible scenes they enjoyed in the team’s final game against QPR and they have already begun the debate into whether the Italian manager should be jettisoned from the Manchester club and a new route taken.
However, the club’s hierarchy would be making a disastrous mistake removing the former Internazionale manager who has created the modern, competition winning Manchester City. It cannot be forgotten the state that Manchester City were in before Roberto Mancini arrived at the club. The Citizens were already awash with Abu Dhabi riches and Mark Hughes had brought in Robinho, Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez and Joleon Lescott.
This was not enough to enable the squad to keep up with the likes of their Manchester rivals, Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur. In December 2009 Mancini was brought in and saw out the season, finishing fifth in the Premier League, before kicking on with a significantly more successful season in the 2010/2011campaign. The former Lazio and Fiorentina manager tightened up the defence (ending the season with the joint best defensive record) and created a squad that saw out more matches and achieved an increased number of wins to finish the season in third place.
They paired this up with a first FA Cup win since 1969 and defeated their arch-rivals in the semi-final on their way to defeating Stoke at Wembley. Their progress under Mancini since Mark Hughes’ departure alleviates the myth that the team’s success is only down to the money. No one can argue that the job is made easier when you can bring in world class internationals but it is no full gone conclusion. Real Madrid are a brilliant case study to prove this.
The addition of high profile players, with inflated egos to match their price tags, is daunting for any manager but Mancini showed at Sampdoria in his playing days that he is no pushover and has handled incidents with Carlos Tevez and Mario Ballotelli with aplomb. His strong character is one which Sheikh Mansour will want to cultivate his multimillion pound assets.
Manchester City steal the headlines a lot for the huge sums of money they are reportedly going to spend on the next super star, but the club are also investing heavily into the youth system and are clearly looking to nurture their own talent in the future. The former Italian international has shown he is able to deal brilliantly with developing young players such as Matija Nastasic, Jack Rodwell and Joe Hart.
Many forget that Mancini put his faith in the English international keeper at the start of the 2010/2011 season when many were calling for the inclusion of established keeper Shay Given. A club with the wealth and ambition of the Sky Blues could be in danger of taking Chelsea’s route to success and sacrifice all player development and respect but chopping and changing managers every season. The dedication of Roberto Mancini will hold the club in good stead, and despite failing to retain last season’s Premier League title he has already declared that next season the team will evolve and take the title back from their Manchester rivals.
Fiorentina, Lazio and Internazionale are all a testament to the Italian’s ability to dominate domestically and that will only help the club in its search for their first European competition success since 1970.