I was informed over the weekend of an alleged conversation between Rafael Benitez and a media representative on a flight in which the Chelsea interim manager supposedly implied Roberto Mancini had mismanaged the wealth of talent at his disposal at Manchester City.
Now, whether or not this mid-air conversation actually even took place is beside the point, who knows or cares what one manager does or doesn’t think about another? However, this gossip did make me question whether Mancini has in fact under-performed in his role as City boss.
There is surely no argument against the case that he hasn’t met his own objectives, nor the club’s or the fans’ expectations, given that City won the Premier League title last term and hoped to retain it. But is it all his fault?
Could he have done better with the resources and personnel available to him and is it, ultimately, his responsibility? The club did spend a great deal less money both in the summer and January transfer windows, compared to that of previous seasons but the Italian coach still had some of the world’s finest talent to work with.
Considering the kind of feats David Moyes has achieved season after season with Everton, and Michael Laudrup this term with Swansea, can Mancini be considered a failure based purely on the amount of expensive players he has within his ranks?
As I’ve outlined previously, with vast sums of money, come great pressures; with power comes responsibility; expectation. That is something Rafael Benitez would know a thing or two about at Stamford Bridge where, incidentally, he has similarly failed under a similar set of circumstances.
In fact, the only clear conclusion to be draw is that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Has Mancini underperformed? I suppose, only as much as Rafael Benitez has, ironically.
image: © Andrew Brannan