Are criticisms of Roberto Mancini warranted?

After controversially being appointed as Manchester City manager in December, Roberto Mancini has had his share of critics but how much criticism does he actually deserve?

In five months he managed to guide the club to their highest ever finish in the Premiership as they ended the season in 5th place. However despite this achievement, Mancini was brought in to help the club qualify for the Champions League which he failed to do. Man City received a lot of flak from the English press after sacking manager Mark Hughes and it was suggested that he wasn’t an improvement over the Welshman.

But Mancini does have more experience managing big teams and can probably handle volatile characters like Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez better than Hughes could. Also when Hughes was sacked City had only achieved two wins in 11 successive Premier League matches and so could have been in danger of even missing out on a Europa League place had he remained in charge.

Although Hughes is a young and up-and-coming manager he was never going to be able to progress City in the time that the directors wanted the club to move forward in. With the funds that they have it would have also made the fans expect more as well so Mancini was a logical replacement after he had proven himself capable of winning three Serie A titles in Italy with Inter Milan.

However Mancini’s CV can also be called into question as Inter were awarded one of the titles for no reason, their second came when Juventus were relegated to Serie B and other sides had been affected by the Italian match-fixing scandal. The final title that they won under Mancini was also won in a weaker Serie A as Juve had only just won promotion and didn’t have the resources to challenge for the title. There is no doubt that had the Italian match-fixing scandal not occurred and Juventus weren’t relegated to Serie B then Mancini would have never won the title with Inter. So really his footballing CV does have a degree of luck about it. On the other hand Mancini has won the Coppa Italia on four occasions with three different clubs and that is quite an impressive feat. But it’s not often that clubs from abroad would pay much attention to a manager’s Coppa Italia achievements as it is a weak cup competition and is nowhere near the standards of the FA Cup.

Despite Mancini’s questionable CV, regardless of how they were awarded he has won major honours and Mark Hughes hasn’t won anything, and Man City needs a winner to take them forward. It cannot be argued though that Mancini failed his objective for the season to get Man City into the top four and perhaps another manager could have done better. Mancini also admirably acknowledged his predecessor Mark Hughes at the end of City’s campaign prior to their game against Tottenham.

He said, “Mark Hughes worked here for the first five months of the season and worked very well, if we get fourth position he deserves 50% of the credit because I think he worked well. I have worked for five months and he has worked for five months. The season has been split between us.’”

Therefore Hughes, despite probably not being what City need in the long term did have an impact on their season, but the question is how much of an improvement was Mancini?

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