All the signs at Man City point to Mancini being a dead man walking
three points by the combination of Sergio Aguero’s brilliance and Pepe Reina’s brain fart.
Pablo Zabaleta (below) and James Milner could hold their heads up high – but too many of their team-mates were just going through the motions. They didn’t press the ball, they didn’t work together.
In short, they didn’t look like they wanted it.
Similar signals were emitted from the boss. Roberto Mancini was all shrugs, smirks and deadpan in the post-match press conference. He looked like a man who’s seen his reflection in the excutioner’s blade.
And perhaps that’s the root of City’s problems right now.
From the outside, City doesn’t feel like a club. Mancini, despite signing a five-year contract in the summer, looks like a dead man walking.
The players look like they know the same thing. Old pros often trot out the line that players will fight for a manager they like. If that’s true, Mancini may as well pack his bags now.
On Saturday, City turned in their worst performance of the season – a gutless display against a Southampton side that had won just five games out of 25 in the league before Mancini’s men came to town.
It’s left a yawning 12point gap to Manchester United.
“Maybe two players played to their standard,” said Mancini after the 3-1 defeat.
Why is that, we wonder?
The Italian seems to have had a cob on for much of the season after demanding City sign Robin van Persie – then watching helplessly as he went to United. he Dutchman’s 19th league goal of the season in the win over Everton was just more salt in a wound Mancini has been scratching all season.
Some bookies have already paid out on the title going to Old Trafford with 12 games to play.
Mancini, too, asked for Eden Hazard and Javi Martinez.
He got Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell. They have each started
Tonly two Premier League games. For that, the finger must be pointed at the sporting directors.
But at times, it seems Mancini is too busy pointing fingers when his tactics and decision-making have baffled just as much as his club’s transfer policy.
The bad blood between the layers of management at City seems to have poured into all four corners of the Eithad Stadium and it’s resulted in a strange feel to the place.
City now have only the FA Cup as a realistic trophy aim – and you can guarantee that wasn’t the aim put before Mancini when he inked his bumper deal. Yet, at a time when the troops need rallying and chests need beating, Mancini has kicked his men while they were down. Throwing Joe Hart (above) under the bus for his mistake at St Mary’s wasn’t the first time he has singled out individuals when faced by tough questions.
It’s hardly the action of a man trying to make friends and influence people.
Perhaps, instead, it’s the action of a man who has had enough.