No matter who comes out on top this season, it is clear that Manchester City’s manager, Roberto Mancini, and Manchester United’s manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, have both been battling throughout the whole 2011/12 season with what we can only describe as ‘mind games’. This is the phrase given when players and managers criticise other potentially competitive clubs in an attempt to make them lose grip, become nervous which results in a decrease in performance on and off the pitch. This season, the question everyone asking is ‘Has Mancini cracked under Fergie’s pressure?’ Well, let’s analyse his season.
Before we hit things off, Mancini is up against the creator of mind games: Sir Alex Ferguson. Over the years, Fergie has beaten Kevin Keegan, Arsene Wenger, Rafael Benetiz and more. The experience Ferguson has in the field of mind games makes him an extremely difficult component. Whatever you throw at him, he will throw back twice at hard and from the 2011/12 season, it is clear this season is no exception.
Manchester City have been a controversial club. A club full of wealth that in some ways bought success, they have climbed from a 4th, 5th, 6th position to title contenders through changing the whole team. Now with Mancini reigning the club, things are looking good. But, there are always problems at every club especially City. Mario Balotelli, striker for City, has always been in the light of the public and usually for the wrong. Setting fireworks off in his house and doing other thuggish things, he is out of control. If this was Ferguson, he would have got rid of him before any trouble happened. This is a reason why Tevez left. He was too much trouble for Ferguson which is clear now at Manchester City.
A player, who decided to not play, to take a 6 month gap to Argentina where he plays golf and said he would never play for City again as well as Mancini saying it too, ended up playing for City. This is desperation at its finest. Patrice Vieira stated United were desperate for bringing back Paul Scholes. Yes, Cleverly has been injured and its been difficult to replace experienced quality with inexperienced quality. But, that is nothing compared to what City have done. This is what makes Ferguson so clever. He always has ammunition to hit anyone if they decide to fire insults first.
I feel that the reason Mancini is feeling the pressure is from his players. He doesn’t have anywhere near as much control and authority over his players than Ferguson and that is important. If Balotelli storms off the pitch after being subbed, Mancini tries to calm him and doesn’t condemn him for his appalling behaviour in anyway. In 2011 on Boxing day, Wayne Rooney and Macheda decided to have a meal out with their family where they were strictly told not to and were told to go training instead. They ignored this and were dropped from the team against Blackburn where Man U lost at home. It hurt not to have Rooney in the team. But, it was the principle that counted. Principle is what Ferguson relies on. This is what makes him and his team the way they are: disciplined.
Ultimately, I believe that Mancini is cracking and has lost the mind games against Ferguson. He should never let Vieira insult Ferguson about being desperate. Do you ever hear Man U fans speak for their club against Man City like that? No. Ferguson doesn’t allow it but Mancini does. This is what made him lost the mind games. Discipline to the team is key.