First Ferran Soriano becomes Manchester City’s chief executive and now Txiki Begiristain has become the director of football, only Pep Guardiola is left to bring the trio that helped Barcelona dominate both Spain and Europe in recent years. With a miracle needed, according to Mancini, to stay in Europe, are the owners of Manchester City about to force out the man that brought them their first title in the modern era?
It’s hard to say as any logical fan, be them City or anyone else, would say no but this is Premier League football where logic has no home. The facts however do matter and they are simple; Mancini has a poor record in Europe, Guardiola has an excellent record in Europe and the owners of Manchester City want the European title above all else.
I have often thought that Mancini’s form in Europe would be his achilles heel but it appears that his stubbornness may also end up doing more harm than good. After the game against Ajax it was refreshing to hear Micah Richards talk with honesty about the lack of training the team have had with regards to playing with 3 at the back. In Italy it is more common to change formation 3 or 4 times in a game and for the team to just get on with it but the fast pace of the Premier League and of European football make this a lot more difficult to replicate. However, it was Mancini’s response to Richards comment that made me think: “If you don’t understand a system like that, you cannot play for a top team.” This thinly veiled threat to his players is very similar to when Mancini spoke up against Joe Hart after the Real Madrid game only to sit back and watch as the English number one was responsible for City’s only point in the Champions League so far. Not the first time that a player is criticised by Mancini only to come to their rescue and save the Italian’s blushes.
Guardiola is a man that protects his players in the public world and the fact that Messi didn’t attend his resignation press conference because he was so overcome with grief shows the level of closeness between him and his players. It is an approach that both Mourinho and Ferguson take and with all due respect to Mancini he is far off from being compared to either manager based on career achievements.
It was of course Begiristain that appointed Guardiola at Barcelona at a time when it was seen as a very risky move. One season as the manager of Barcelona B and one of the stars of Cruyff’s dream team in the early 90’s seemed to be the only credentials on his CV. Then after one treble winning season later, Guardiola, his sharp suits and immaculate facial hair became the darling of the Catalan world once more.
Now everyone wants him and with 2 of the 3 amigo’s in place at Manchester City it looks odds on that he will be managing the sky blue half of Manchester very soon.
Obviously I am jumping to the conclusion that Mancini’s days are numbered but for one second imagine that is true and all of a sudden we have a situation similar to that of Barcelona in 2008. After Joan Laporta and Txiki Begiristain felt a change was needed at Camp Nou everyone was expecting the appointment of Jose Mourinho and after a very impressive meeting between Begiristain, Soriano, Marc Ingla (Another director within the Barcelona setup) and the special one himself everyone knew that Mourinho would win things for Barce but something wasn’t right. It was upon meeting with Begiristain’s former team mate Guardiola that they felt they had the right man for the job, a man that would represent Barcelona not just himself.
For years Mourinho has been linked with a move to Manchester but whether or not its the red or the blue is yet to be decided. Ferguson hasn’t got much time left and from the looks of it the pressure is mounting on Mancini. City have the endless money that Mourinho usually has at a club but the setup is distinctly Barcelona based. Whether or not Mourinho will try his luck again and go for a job with Guardiola will remain to be seen but with Guardiola seemingly edging closer to the Etihad the option of beating the man in a different league with their biggest rivals again would be an opportunity that an ego like Mourinho wouldn’t want to pass up.
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