Their dramatic title win was brought about by a dramatic few moments, but it was a season in the making. Shaka looks at the work Roberto Mancini has been doing at Eastlands
If we were to believe the reports throughout the season, Roberto Mancini was about to get sacked in the region of 30 times this season. Even with the Premier League in the bag, there will be whispers about under-performing and schemes to install the Special One, Pep Guardiola [insert name of any flavour of the month manager here] at the helm.
I’d ignore the conspiracy theories, because if you win the title, the bottom line is you deserve another season at the club. I think he’ll be kept on and given more money to spend over the summer. If the early stages of next season don’t go so well, then there will be a concerted effort to replace him, but not before then.
The owners will expect another strong start to the season next term and without a doubt, qualification from the group stages of the Champions League. If he doesn’t achieve one or both of those goals, they may push the ejector button very quickly. It’s vastly different being the comparative ‘underdog’ and the defending champions and he’ll be under a whole new set of pressures next season.
I think there’s still improvement to come from this Manchester City squad. I don’t actually think they’d developed much over the course of this season, especially when you consider the level they were playing at in the early months of the campaign. Mancini needs to get his players to that level of performance more often and I think he can do it. They won’t play like the Harlem Globetrotters in every game, but he needs to work on getting winning performances out of his players when they’re maybe not at their best. He did instil plenty of battling spirit in his players and for that he deserves immense credit.
They were beating people very easily early on, but people figured them out before too long. City don’t play with much width. It all comes through the middle and they really just try to batter down the door. Teams can come to terms with that rather easily. You stay quite narrow and compact in defence, pick up the runners from midfield and you make life difficult for them. His main task will adding another dimension to their play.
Aside from holding on to Mancini, they need to keep Yaya Toure. He has been immense for them in the last few weeks, especially in the Manchester Derby and then in the tricky game against Newcastle. He came back from the Africa Cup of Nations and looked a little sluggish and as a result I think City’s performances suffered. Even when he went off against QPR, you could see City lacked that attacking threat from deep. When Yaya doesn’t perform, I think City struggle so keeping him and keeping him happy are vital for continuing the progress next season.
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