Club Focus – Manchester City – Lack of unity in the dressing room at Manchester City

Money can buy you a lot of things. One thing it cannot buy, it seems, is harmony. Manchester City’s squad pays testament to that. Already this season, Carlos Tevez clashed with Roberto Mancini in full view of 48,000 spectators, unhappy with his manager’s decision to substitute him.

Yaya Toure and James Milner exchanged angry words as the match at home to Arsenal slipped away from City. A defeat to Wolves in November saw tempers flare between Emanuel Adebayor and Vincent Kompany. In training too there have been numerous bust-ups. The ever combustible Mario Balotelli and Jerome Boateng’s falling out led to the German full-back being dropped from the City match day squad, whilst in the confines of the changing rooms Carlos Tevez and Roberto Mancini fought as the Blues laboured to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle.

The build-up to the return fixture with Arsenal has been marred by yet another fight between team mates. This time the guilty parties were Emanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure. A non-contact training match quickly escalated following a clash between the two players. The former Arsenal team mates had to be separated before Mancini decided the best course of action would be to see the training session out with both players on the same side.

Toure and Adebayor’s training ground conflict is the result of what The Guardian reports to be a long-lasting breakdown in friendship between the players. Adebayor in particular has previous for such disruptive behaviour. His brouhaha with Kompany at Molineux notwithstanding, the Togolese hitman also struggled to forge a positive relationship with his strike partners at Arsenal. Who can forget his explosion of rage at Niklas Bendtner as Arsenal succumbed to a humiliating 5-1 Carling Cup semi-final second-leg defeat to Spurs in 2008? His feud with Robin van Persie reached boiling point early into Adebayor’s career at Eastlands with a stamp aimed at the Dutchman’s head.

One solution mooted is to simply move Adebayor on. He has struggled for first-team football this season due to the scintillating form of the equally controversial Carlos Tevez and the rich promise shown by the volatile Mario Balotelli. Speculation in the media has long since linked him with a move away from the City of Manchester Stadium, intensified recently by the rumours linking City with a bid for Wolfsburg forward Edin Dzeko. Added to his poor performances in a City shirt this season, the trouble he seems to be causing in the dressing room makes him a prime candidate to be moved out to make way for reinforcements as City chase the Premier League title.

Nevertheless there seems to be a more incremental problem at City which one suspects the departure of just one player will not solve. As such, Mancini is likely to face a fresh round of criticism for being unable to control his expensively assembled squad. Whether the resentment which perpetually brews at Manchester City will halt the team’s progress is a question which can only be answered by time. Despite such obvious internal problems, City are still winning matches. Team spirit might just not be that important, as Steve Archibald said: “An illusion glimpsed only in victory.” In City’s case, it seems that in victory and defeat the only constant is their lack of unity.

Related posts

Leave a Comment