Imagine Soccer Blogs

Caution Costs

Mancini's Tactics Damage City

Posted Mar 23, 2011 by Shaun Edwards

Mancini needs more tactical nous

James Milner, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry, Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and £300 million spent.  For all of the pounds sterling that have gone into the Manchester City team in the past couple of seasons, you would expect them to have obtained instant qualification to the champion’s league as well as at least a second place finish.  Instead, what the long suffering City fans have had to endure is a fourth/fifth placed side incapable of really taking apart the top sides they are supposedly competing with.  Essentially they have become very similar to Spurs, but without Spurs’ high class attitude, entertaining football and in-the-black bank account.

If there was any one event that summed up Manchester City’s season, it occurred about two minutes before Chelsea opened the scoring through David Luiz (who is already proving value for money) during the two sides’ weekend match.  With the score 0-0, Roberto Mancini decided to make a substitute.   With the volatile but dangerous match winner Mario Balotelli on the bench, there was a chance to gamble the striker and chance getting three points instead of one.  Did Mancini risk it?  Did he hell.  Until Luiz scored, the Italian was in the process of bringing on another defender.

Once again, Mancini has shown that he is unprepared to go for broke in even the most promising situations, prepared to settle for a draw almost before the opening whistle has blown against any side that he considers to be dangerous.  If City were never beaten by their rivals, you would almost understand, but they are: fairly regularly.  Against Manchester United last month, City appeared to have earned a draw, so Mancini ordered them to sit back and play safe.  One Wayne Rooney wondergoal later, and United had the three points.  The same happened against Chelsea on Sunday: aside from a couple of initial bursts, City showed their unwillingness to make any kind of gamble and once again they left with nothing.

It is this inherent over-caution that separates Manchester City from the teams around and above them.  This very weekend Manchester United were locked in a 0-0 draw with Bolton.  Had it been City, Mancini would have been content enough with not losing.  Not Sir Alex Ferguson, who threw on an extra striker and subsequently received both a goal and three points.  Spurs, too, will always go all out attack.  Their marvellous victory against Arsenal at the Emirates earlier on in the season was a lesson in how to accept nothing but a win.

Only Carlos Tevez (and City are missing him far more than a team worth £300 million should miss any single player) Mario Balotelli show any form of passion, and the latter combines enthusiasm with a pig headed stupidity.  The rest of City’s multi-millionaires don’t really seem to care less if they finish first or fifth.

The buck, in the end, stops with Mancini.  Imagine what could happen should someone like Harry Redknapp or Kenny Dalglish get a hold of half of City’s budget, and you’ll see just how much of an underachiever the City coach has been.  Mancini has proved time and time again that he just does not have the stomach for the big occasion, and I would be amazed if he is still in his position come the summer. 

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