x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Roberto Mancini: Life is too short for moaning

Roberto Mancini has acted like a desperate man who is under heavy pressure because he is unsure about his position and his future.

Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini, right, is beginning to sound like a broken record.
Manchester City's manager Roberto Mancini, right, is beginning to sound like a broken record.

There is a fine line in football between putting pressure on your opponents and looking silly.

Too often this season, Roberto Mancini has acted like a desperate man who is under heavy pressure because he is unsure about his position and his future at Manchester City.

Barely a week goes by without him whingeing about something. This week it was an alleged offside goal scored by Manchester United at West Ham.

Cheer up, Roberto, life is short. You’ve so many reasons to be content – you’re the manager of the Premier League champions, you have excellent players at your disposal, you earn a fortune and have had a fortune to spend.

You had a great career as a player and you’ve done well in management.

Roberto, be happy, make love not war, move on when you don’t win a match – or when United don’t lose.

Mancini was lamenting recently that City did not deserve to be 15 points behind United.

Was the league table lying? Was he suggesting that there was some wild conspiracy working against City?

He has given plenty of examples of decisions which have gone against his team – or which he suspects have gone against his team – but can’t every manager?

And is not it just a little bit boring when they do it non-stop? Isn’t that football? Remember the cliche that decisions even themselves out over 38 games?

Mancini comes across as a poor loser.

I was a poor loser when I started out in football. I’d get a monk on whenever I lost a game, but I learned to be gracious in victory and defeat, to take it on the chin. Mancini seems incapable of that.

Mancini’s job is not a popularity contest, but he needs to be popular if he wants players to play for him and to command loyalty.

Jose Mourinho is a famously divisive character, but he can turn on the charm and players want to play for him.

Inter Milan’s players were crying when he left for Real Madrid. I think City’s players would be celebrating if Mancini departed.

I have long been sad at Mancini’s handling of players, too. Too many spats make it into the public arena, arguments with his own players.

Was it right that he manhandled Mario Balotelli in a training-ground spat, the images of which went around the world?

No. Did he come out of it well when he said that Carlos Tevez, their best player, would never play for him again … only for Tevez to do just that? No.

Was he right to criticise his own players publicly, like Adam Johnson or Samir Nasri? No.

Things like that should be kept private, otherwise the player will lose respect for his manager. Nasri responded by saying that his former boss Arsene Wenger was a better coach. Ouch.

Does Mancini seem like he manages the egos of his players well? No.

Mancini’s actions strike me as someone who is unsure of his position. He feels cornered, so he lashes out.

Given the speculation that he reads about his future, that is understandable, but how much of that does he bring upon himself?

You read reports of him falling out with people all the time, burning bridges all over the place. That is why there is constant speculation about his future.

And when he whinges about not getting the players he wanted, other managers must think: “Oh, poor you, only having Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero in attack. How do you struggle to get by?

“Poor you for not getting Daniele De Rossi, but why on Earth did you sell the excellent Nigel De Jong?”

Mancini was a great player, but also a volatile one.

Volatility is not a good attribute in management. I look at him and think, “He was a player but he’s not a player’s man, I wouldn’t like to play for him, because he’s so antagonistic.”

He is the bull in the china shop  and a grump. Be happy, Roberto, you’ll be a better person for it – and a better manager.

Andrew Cole's column is written with the assistance of European football correspondent Andy Mitten.

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE