Eliaquim Mangala has not had the best of starts to life in Manchester, but his former coach still believes in him.
Manchester City’s Eliaquim Mangala has endured a difficult start to life in the Premier League. Not a week goes by without his performances being mentioned on the back of his £32 million price tag (per the Express).
It’s far too easy to criticise the defender, but the form of Belgium’s captain Vincent Kompany hasn’t helped his young team mate from adapting easily to his new surroundings.
Laszlo Boloni, the coach that helped him progress and break through at Standard Liege, while speaking to L’Equipe on Saturday, believes the defender has started his City career well and he is not surprised:
"Eliaquim has an extraordinary presence, toughness in difficult battles, but we must never forget that he has not had a normal period of development. He arrived late (17 years old) at Standard. Technically, it's been difficult for him, he had to work. It is said that the English Championship is physical, but I note that in the penalty area, it’s very, very fast, maybe that's why Eliaquim isn’t as comfortable."
The former Monaco coach also suggested that playing Mangala and Kompany together doesn’t play to either player’s strengths as they are of a similar style.
Mangala started beside Kompany against West Brom on Saturday and together they were able to keep a clean sheet and pick up a 3-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
It was a fairly comfortable game, with the away side going down to 10-men after just 83 seconds. The Baggies didn’t offer too much in an attacking sense and neither Kompany nor Mangala faced much difficulty.
There will be bigger tests for Mangala this season, but it may take until the next campaign before he is fully settled in the Premier League and can show others why his old coach still believes in him.