In spite of all that – and it is not just positive spin – Roberto Mancini’s job is reported as being on the line. Backroom staff at Eastlands feels compelled to assuage fears that a poor run of form is terminal and that Mancini is on the verge of leaving. Somehow, a poor run of three matches, one of which played with more than one eye cast on the upcoming fixtures in the Premier League, has transformed City into a club on the brink.
Spare me. In an industry where demand for success is immediate, even the smallest mishap is treated with the type of horror normally only reserved for humanitarian disasters. Three defeats in a row has not catapulted Manchester City out of the title race, nor has it put an end to their aspirations to qualify for next season’s Champions League. It has not even seen them knocked out of European competition.
Perhaps the problem is overanalysing. Whilst every small detail in a match counts, the conclusions that are drawn from the analysis are often irrational. Just because Emanuel Adebayor and Vincent Kompany argued on the pitch at Molineux does not mean that Mancini has lost the dressing room, just as a heavy reliance on Carlos Tevez for goals does not mean that City are one-dimensional. Roberto Mancini’s job, in a sane world, would not be at risk.
It seems to me that Mancini’s prime obligation as manager is to be able to take hideous amounts of abuse from disgruntled supporters and journalists alike. Victories when they come are treated with disdain. They were expected. The blame for defeats on the other hand are laid squarely at his door. In football we should not jump to conclusions based on three short games. Rather we must look at the longer term progress being made. That Mancini is under any pressure at all is due to the impatience generated by the delusion of wanting it all and wanting it now. This will only end when City win their next game. Upon which will spring the inevitable questions about whether it is too late to write them off. A little more clarity is required.