Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini often struggled to remain composed in high-pressure moments during his reign at the Etihad stadium.
After goalkeeper Joe Hart bemoaned their Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, Mancini snapped and said the England number one should ‘stay in goal and make saves’.
Contrarily, new boss Manuel Pellegrini takes a refreshingly new approach and appears calm and composed amidst the pressure of the Premier League
After conceding three quick-fire goals to AC Milan in a recent friendly the Chilean manager constructively asked his players to improve their concentration.
Instead of reacting angrily the new boss was philosophical ‘it’s better that this happens now rather than in the Premier League’ was his response.
Pellegrini has already stated that there is no ultimatum to win the league this season, saying ‘I’m not concerned about the pressures’.
This is in contrast to David Moyes’ confidence in his squad that suggests he is expecting United to retain the Premier League crown and he may be under pressure if they don’t.
During the last campaign Mancini was always overly optimistic about City’s chances of winning the league.
Even when United were 15 points ahead of them in March – just two months before the end of the season – he claimed that Reds’ Champions League defeat to Real Madrid and FA Cup draw with Chelsea were indications of the players suffering from fatigue, but that was not the case.
Pellegrini, unlike Mancini, has brought a new quiet determination and relaxed view on City’s title chances that could be the key to the Blues’ success.
We all know that performance on the football pitch is down to psychology as well as footballing ability. As a result, when Mancini publically pilled pressure on his team to win every game to pip United to the title, it must have had a negative effect on the team.
The enormity of the task they faced may have been too big to handle for some of City’s recent signings, who found competing for the championship a new experience.
Captain Vincent Kompany has recently praised Pellegrini for having a ‘certain flair’ and ‘a lot of class’. Given that the captain can be a good or bad influence on the atmosphere within a team, Kompany’s positive endorsement of Pellegrini is welcome. He will help unite the team behind the manager which is crucial during the early stages of his City career.
Pellegrini’s indifference towards José Mourinho’s legendary mind games is a wise decision that underpins the Chilean’s cerebral confidence.
Resisting the temptation to goad him and Moyes before potentially title deciding games, will give City a psychological strength born out of their manager’s focus on football.
Ultimately, the concept of reverse psychology is one that will bring silverware to the Eithad stadium.
By considering each game as equally important and not thinking about the end goal of winning the title, the team can play with confidence and enjoy their football.
Manchester City had enough in-fighting under Mancini. It is time to try something new: release that pressure and maybe, just maybe the Premiership might be heading to the blue side of Manchester.
Image courtesy of MCFCtv via YouTube, with thanks.