It transpires on thursdays news wires that during the insipid City team performance at Anfield earlier this week, we lost our talisman for the season Carlos Tevez.
In fact judging by the amount of time Tevez will be absent from a City first team with his hamstring injury, it could be the last we ever see him wear the blue thirty two.
There’s little doubt Tevez has been an instrumental player for us this season and who could argue with his goal tally to date, it could be argued that his solo player contribution may help City enter the azimuth of club football, the champions league at the end of this season.
All this assumes we don’t adopt the old City tradition of self imploding as we did last season at the last hurdle, gifting spurs the place we desperately craved.
So providing we don’t single handedly spoil our chances in the absence of Tevez, and we actually manage to attain that much needed place, then it could be a case of job done on the part of Mancini.
Looking back to the start of the season, Mancini could have chosen from the outset of this season to set City up without Tevez playing the leading role, but its also possible that Mancini thought it would have been too big a gamble not to fully utilise a player in such excellent form, as the thought of finishing mid table at the seasons end would not have been thinkable, therefore opting not to rebuild the team from scratch.
It was pretty clear from the early stages of this premier league season that Tevez became an instant fix for Mancini.
The major mistake Mancini made this season in my opinion has been his over reliance in Tevez, which i feel has put a lot of strain on the player and his relationship between the club, manager, agent and supporters.
I also feel that using Tevez in the way Mancini has may have actually contributed to making some of our recent high profile imports look like poor purchases, just by the very nature of his playing style which usually excludes any interchange to his team mates, his style certainly fragments and smothers our progress as a forward moving one touch football team, and therefore feel he has hampered our playing style as a team unit no end, thats certainly how it appears to me, and in my opinion playing the Tevez option for such long spells of this season was an ill thought out plan which i feel is about to come back and haunt Mancini.
The reason Mancini stuck with Tevez as a solution to all our problems for so long raises more questions than it answers, as hapless as Mancini’s tactics and results may have looked with increasing frequency over the past few months to both City supporters and footballing pundits alike, its probably fair to say he hasn’t had the freedom to try a more radical approach and to do things in his own way, as the impending high probability of not qualifying for the champions league has loomed over him like the sword of damocles most of this year, and has surely got to be orchestrating some kind of destructive dynamic on Mancini’s clear thinking, which again raises the question of unrealistic time frames and targets with the high expectations that rich owners set for their chosen coach.
Make no mistake about it, the choice of instant success or pack your bags seems to be the mandate set in stone by billionaire owners and supporters alike, and it makes for a pretty toxic cocktail.
I personally believe that deep down Mancini is a top level manager, and he is the best City manager we have appointed in a long time, but at city he simply hasn’t had the time nor the freedom to exercise all the options and do things his way, the same could be argued for Hughes, although he appeared to get himself into self spiralling perpetual disaster in much the same way, which is already well documented.
Its probably fair to say that Mancini had many luxuries at Inter Milan that he could ill afford at City, the Milan squad for example was in pretty good shape when he arrived there from Lazio in 2004.
It would take even the most cynical of supporters to discount his past success there and not believe it feasible that he could be a success at City given time.
Time that if he were allowed a few years to settle into the role here, he would most likely deliver success to the club, and probably sustained success at that.
However our owners have not the patience nor the time to offer Mancini that safety net due to a number of outside pressures imposed over the next few seasons by FIFA themselves, and an ever demanding fan base who are more hungry than ever to end a trophy drought which has hung over them and been laughed upon from their gaudy neighbours over in the borough of trafford.
So what i conclude could be deemed as an over simplistic summation, but I don’t think Mancini has suddenly become a poor manager in the past few months here, i think he’s probably struggling to try to get everything to gel while staring the obvious pressure of results, player behaviour and injuries coupled with owner and supporter expectation in the face, which has all been thrust upon his shoulders with the added burden of three decades of empty honours.
When Mancini first arrived he looked confident and full of energy, carrying the hopes and dreams of a club with him, when the new season started and he had to do things a certain way i think it was plainly obvious he was going to struggle with the burden of to do list he inherited, and made all the more difficult with the added conundrum of how he was going to manage attaining the haloed premier league fourth place with his expensively assembled squad of individuals within one single season at the helm.
So it now looks more apparent to many that it wasn’t long into the new season when Mancini realised that without the over reliance on settled key players would we have a cat in hells chance of getting fourth place at all.
The majority of the players Mancini brought in haven’t settled in quickly enough to be effective, probably because Mancini never had the time to let them settle in, as he favoured running the whole game around Tevez, and with constant flow of fixtures plus internationals with no winter break, proving yet again that English football is indeed a different animal in many ways to that of the Italian game.
Sadly as Mancini struggles to get everything right at this stage of the season, the uncertainty has begun to reflect on player confidence, and its never more apparent than with a striker, poor Edin Dzeko for example, a player of incredible quality who looks a forlorn figure on the pitch at the moment, he looks around the pitch wondering where the next ball is going to come from, as the service has been so poor and fragmented.
For the Liverpool game the team setup was an obvious tactical error on Mancini’s part before the game had even began, it looked more like a sign of desperation as Mancini appeared not to know what to do and as his tactical frailties began to open up the City defence the goals began to flood in, it was clearly beyond the point of no return before the first half had ended.
With such a huge match as the Wembley semi final with United fast approaching, and having already been ditched out of two cups, the panic seemed to have set in there and there on that cold Monday night in Merseyside.
Unfortunately this is all part and parcel of what happens when you want something too quickly, and as we have often seen in the past it seldom works out straight away.
Mancini knows his job is on the line, and sadly with a co-pilot like platt as part of the back room support he’s not going to be much help when it comes to the crunch.
But i live in hope and im sure im not on my own when i say im praying for a miracle on Saturday.
As Mancini has said more than once this season, “football can be strange”…