Mancini so far...

I'm sure the irony of 'moneybags' Manchester City's major signing of the most uneventful transfer window to date being a soon-to-be contract-free Championship winger hasn't been lost on anyone. What it says about the long-term future of boss Roberto Mancini isn't really clear at this point. His limited additions to an already strong squad might just as well indicate he's happy to play with what he's got, but one free transfer arrival and a young domestic player who we've been linked with since before the Italian's arrival are bound to at least raise the odd theory that he's keeping the seat warm for someone else.

Seven wins in his first nine games, though a generally easy run and the two defeats coming in the toughest tests, indicates that there was method behind the decision to get rid of former boss Mark Hughes. From a tactical point of view it's hard to really fault him so far. Players are being given their chance, systems tinkered with, altered, occasionally done away with as the meticulous former Sampdoria striker learns on the job crash course-style.

What i'm sure no fan is naive enough to believe is that it's all going to continue to click into place and we'll morph into this refreshed, clinical, commanding certainty for both the top four and cup glory. That'll take a while, and the mentality of the club must be changed over time. The best medicine for that is obviously results, but there will be poor ones, at times pressure will mount on the new gaffer, and we'll certainly have bigger tests than Boro, Blackburn, Scunthorpe or Portsmouth.

In my opinion, Hughes never really had the charisma to earn 100% respect from all of his players, nor the experience of having been there and done it at a management level. His position was also severely undermined by not being the appointed man of the new regime. Though the press' opinion that he was a dead man walking from day one wasn't proved immediately true, there was always the sense, both there and amongst fans, that he wasn't the man for the ultimate job. I'm sure some of the players, sensed that, too.

Truth is, top managers shouldn't need to spend big every time their side is looking vulnerable in a certain area, and part of me's glad that players who had previously looked on their way out of the exit door are now getting a second chance. Had Hughes still been here, injuries how they have been, i expect we would have added three or four more high-profile arrivals, ever papering over widening cracks.

The signing of Johnson makes complete sense to me. We had three available wingers, or at least players who play wide, given the recent loan outgoings; Wright-Phillips, Petrov & Bellamy. All have done quite well this season, in my opinion, the latter quite undeniably, but they are, respectively, coming back from a series of ankle knocks, out of contract, and a player with a history of bad injuries. Johnson will get games, certainly once Petrov leaves, as i'm sure he will, though i do imagine the signing may be one made more by the club than Roberto.

We'll have to wait until the summer before we know whether the board see Mancini as the long-term answer, but he's making all the right noises. His fate will probably depend on whether or not we finish in the top four or win a cup, but i'm not convinced it necessarily needs to. We need to do one or the other, there's no doubt about that, but so far he's proved the calm after the storm, as well as the right sort of face PR-wise, and for me that's enough for now given the last few months of Hughes, during which we were doing an extremely bad job of winning friends on our way up.

1 comment:

  1. Good article, expressing what a lot of us fans feel. I'd be disappointed surprised to see Petrov go, but if he is a stirrer in the dressing room, maybe he should, like Elano. On his day, Elano was a master stroke, but it's how it all balances out, I guess.

    I like Mancini. I was shocked at Hughes' departure, but I think we'd be lower in the table and out of both cups by now if he'd stayed.