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Roberto Mancini has begun to lose the plot

907   //    06 Nov 2012, 23:07 IST

His calls for respect will go unheeded if his team fails to perform

Manchester City are third in the Barclays Premier League table with 22 points, and a goal difference of 9, two points behind rivals and table-toppers Manchester United. Then why the sudden dissent against a man who won City their first league title in 44 years? The answer is painfully simple to those who have watched them play in the various competitions through the season. Their performances in the league have been well below par in several games, and the lesser said about their Champions League and Capital One Cup efforts, the better. But how far, is Roberto Mancini to blame for his team failing?

To quite a great extent actually, given that the failings are a direct result of the constant tinkering that he’s subjected his team to, coupled with his faulty transfer policy, and his blatant inability to manage the egos of 25 lavishly overpaid men. The effects of these multiple faults will be felt even more greatly over the course of a long season, though at this rate, the only competition they’ll have to tackle, will be the League. The Champions League is now well out of sight, with the chances of a Europa League spot bleak, at best. And the team, at current performance, will be unable to cope with the rigours of the FA Cup.

Mancini seems to be the most improper person to be in charge of Manchester City at the moment. His continual fall-outs with his players, and the lack of a concrete tactical approach will hinder the team not only over the current season, but the effects may prove to be detrimental over the long-term for a team that is still essentially a work-in-progress. The two problems seemingly go hand-in-hand, as his most recent fall-out – unabashedly public, to say the least – has forced him to alter tactics midway through games, and bring in the young Matija Nastasic at the base of the City defence, again leading to captain Kompany looking shakier than a punctured Titanic at times.

After the Ajax humilation, for once when it seemed he was willing to take the blame on himself, he went ahead and said this about Lescott’s inability to jump at a cross : “It is my fault. I didn’t tell him to jump.”

But above all, it is City’s abject Champions League attempts which have crossed City fan’s and surely the City hierarchy. They have Joe Hart to thank, for preventing the opposition team being unable to run up a cricket score against them, such has been their desperate state. Each of the scorelines, 3-2 against Real Madrid, 1-1 with Borussia Dortmund, and 3-1 against Ajax, have been flattering in the extreme.

Dortmund especially, will feel hard done by, given they genuinely deserved to run riot against them, but ended up with the solitary point. Mancini has himself ruled City out of the qualification reckoning, and his outbursts against journalists now shows the extreme level of frustration prevalent within the camp. The revelation that Mancini was in active talks with Ligue 2 club Monaco towards the end of last season, has not helped matters at all, and it is probably indicative of the fact that Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon Al-Mubarak had set the EPL title as the essential for Mancini to end the season employed with them.

The dramatic victory over Queens Park Rangers preserved his employment, but none of the enthusiasm of the previous season seems to have carried on. The owners have already reshuffled the club’s board, with Ferran Soriano taking over as Chief Executive Officer, and Txiki Begiristain being appointed Football Adminstrator, at the cost of Brian Marwood, who now suffers a demotion.

The influx of two prominent ex-Barcelona board members makes explicit the wish of the Middle-Eastern owners to follow the Barcelona model, and given Mancini’s current performance at the club, they would not shy from handing a certain Pep Guardiola an interview for the job. City face Ajax at the Etihad tonight, and as Mancini asks people for “respect”, deep within, he must know that the final three games of the Champions League are perhaps his sole chance at remitting himself.

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