Monday, April 9, 2012

Mancini on the Chopping Block

Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks

Roberto Mancini was given an open cheque book and he was expected to bring home the EPL crown jewels to Manchester City. Barring a miracle, those crown jewels will be coming home to Manchester but to United, not to City.

Mancini made City into a Champion League side and they will play in the European League next year. But he has fallen short and with six games to go the nattily dressed Italian is eight points behind his cross-town rivals. Already, soccer commentators are calling for his head to roll. But the Middle East tycoons would be unwise to jettison his services.

The major rap against Mancini is he did not handle his players adroitly. He had signed a couple players who were difficult to control. With such a deep squad, there is bound to be grumbling on the bench. To be saddled with a Carlos Tevez and a Mario Balotelli is a sisyphusean assignment. Mancini should never have brought back Tevez and his return only paid limited dividends. It could not have lifted the morale of the team at a critical moment in the English Premier League.

Balotelli is a special case. He is a petulant child in a man’s body. Balotelli needs a father figure, one that can help him to grow up and grow into his full potential as a footballer. He is like a child star who was deprived of his childhood. What is distinguishable about a professional is the ability to be in control and Balotelli seems always to be out of control.

The Manchester City owners should persist with Mancini. On Sunday, they lost to Arsenal without their playmaker, David Silva and their dominant mid-field player had an early departure because of injury. Manchester City has a winning nucleus of players and what they need at this juncture is continuity. Mancini has much to work on as a manager of problematic professionals. He is an also ran for this season but with some tweaking, Manchester City will again be contenders in the 2012-2013 EPL season.

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