In the aftermath of Manchester City’s 0-0 draw at the weekend, City boss Roberto Mancini was pleading for patience from both the board and the fans as he attempts to mould his expensively assembled squad into potential title challengers.
City looked disparate at times at White Hart Lane, particularly in the first half as England international and new City number one goalkeeper Joe Hart pulled off a string of magnificent saves to keep the scores level while big money debutants Yaya Toure and David Silva looked at odds with the pace of the Premier League.
Although Manchester City have spent big this offseason, spending big is not necessarily a guarantee of success; something that Manchester City fans will be all too aware of. Manchester City were the top spenders in 2008-09 and 2009-10, spending £113 million and £124 million on improving the squad only for the club to finish in 10th and 5th place in the league those two years.
Chelsea and Roman Abramovich have set the precedent for buying success after capturing a league double in 2004-05 and 2005-06 following huge transfer spending and chairman Sheihk Mansour is clearly attempting to emulate his Russian contemporary in trying to buy success. But what sets apart Chelsea’s millionaires from City’s is a semblance of stability that has been lacking at Eastlands.
Chelsea have a relatively settled core group of players that feature regularly for the club including goalkeeper Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. All of these players have been at the club for at least four years and in that time have forged a strong understanding with their fellow teammates. Of all the players that featured on the weekend against Spurs, only Joe Hart, Micah Richards and Shaun Wright-Phillips have been at the club for longer than two seasons and Richards and Wright-Phillips are only fringe players at best for the club. For Manchester City to harbour any aspirations of a title challenge, Mancini needs to ensure the team form an understanding. And fast.
With all the comings and goings at Manchester City this season, Mancini’s man-management ability has been called into question which doesn’t bode well for the Italian if he wants to foster a strong team spirit. Mancini has clashed on many occasions with Craig Bellamy who yesterday sealed a season long loan at his home town club Cardiff City. Then there is Steven Ireland who is being forced to play in the reserves while being used as a makeweight in the James Milner transfer deal.
Mancini was the board’s choice to be Manchester City manager and therefore I expect the chairman to give the Italian more time to produce results on the pitch than his predecessor Mark Hughes. However, given the huge amount of money spent by Mancini, there is huge pressure on the Italian to deliver results at Eastlands or risk facing the axe from an expectant board looking for a return on their massive expenditure. I believe that 4th place is the minimum expectation for City this season and anything less would see Mancini out of a job.
What do you think? Will the board have patience with Mancini or will they expect instant results from their spending and sack Mancini if he fails to deliver?