Debate – Is Roberto Mancini’s time at Manchester City coming to an end?

By Sean-Paul Doran

MM asks whether Roberto Mancini will be allowed to continue his Manchester City project or if he will become the latest victim of the Premier League’s trigger-happy club owners.

Conflicting reports emerged this week regarding Roberto Mancini’s future, with some suggesting his time at Eastlands could soon be coming to an end.

The prospect of a trophyless season is becoming increasingly likely and although this has certainly been a season of progress for the club, managers are generally judged on their contribution to the silverware cabinet.

Mancini’s job is arguably one of, if not the hardest job in world football. Billionaire owners aren’t renowned for their loyalty to managers in a results-based business.

With the amount of money that Sheikh Mansour has put into the City project, it’s not surprising that he might be unhappy with the level of return from his investment.

Roberto has a fight on his hands to mould the City team into a cohesive unit rather than a team of talented individuals, as Real Madrid have proved to be ultimately counter-productive in recent times.

City fans appear to be behind their manager and would argue that a managerial change could do more harm than good, something that Chelsea fans would certainly agree with.

Discipline problems within the squad might suggest that the players aren’t pulling in the same direction but surely that would be endemic in any club with as many egos on their books as the Blues.

There definitely appears to be a lack of respect for Mancini coming from certain sections of the City squad, but some of the offenders could be accused of possessing an over-inflated sense of self worth.

As the Tevez saga takes a backseat for the meantime, Mario Balotelli is as willing as ever to hog all the attention anyone will afford him. Super Mario is a journalist’s dream but has proved to be a nightmare for Mancini.

Crashing his Bentley in Deansgate yesterday is just the latest in the long list of mishaps he somehow manages to get himself into.

Mancini spoke during the week of his constant battle to manage Balotelli both on and off the field.

“I can understand it. I told him ‘if you played with me, 10 years ago, I’d punch you in the head every day’,” Mancini said.

Added to the recent feeble attempts at beating the king of mind games, Sir Alex, at his own game, Mancini will really have to look at how he presents himself in the media.

Is this a sign of the pressure getting to him?

With the specter of The Special One’s probable departure from Real Madrid in the summer looming over the Etihad Stadium, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to predict a new-look Manchester City kicking off next season’s Premier League campaign.

There are definite cases for and against keeping Roberto at the helm so this is an issue that could rumble on for some time yet.

Question marks are appearing over Mancini’s managerial career record as a league-winning specialist and whether he is capable of delivering what City fans crave the most – the Premier League title.

However, removing Mancini just three years into his project could undo all the good work the club has done in recent times to try to achieve sustainable success in the future and Sheikh Mansour only has to look a few miles in the Old Trafford direction to see the potential benefits of stability.

Delivering the FA Cup last year, the club’s first trophy since 1976, was an achievement, if only to force the removal of a certain banner that took pride of place in neighbouring Old Trafford.

However, whether this solitary trophy will be enough to keep him on the payroll at the club for another while yet remains to be seen.

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