Adam Skinner explores Roberto Mancini’s claims that he is the best manager in England for the last 15 months.
A faltering title defence and another fruitless Champions League campaign might suggest that Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini’s claims that “In the last 15 months I am the best manager in England”, are somewhat wide of the mark.
City are 12 points behind Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side, and fell at the first hurdle in Europe for a second successive season. With the title all but gone and the FA Cup their only chance of silverware this season, you could be forgiven for dismissing Mancini’s comments as those of someone who has spiralled into a state of delusion.
Mancini wouldn’t be the first manager to lose their head under the pressures of trying to keep pace with Alex Ferguson. Kevin Keegan’s very public “I will love it” outburst on Sky Sports in 1996 and Rafael Benitez’s “fact” rant in 2009 are just two examples of what such pressures can do.
So, are these the comments of a deluded man? Just how does Mancini’s record over the last 15 months compare with his counterparts?
Earlier this week Mancini told BBC Sport “I won one Premier League, one FA Cup, one Charity Shield (community shield), there is not another manager that’s won like me in the last 15 months”.
Well, in fact, this isn’t strictly true. While Mancini is absolutely right in the sense that he has won more trophies than anyone since the start of the 2010-2011 season, his first full season in charge. The 15 month period cited by the Italian saw City win the league and the, arguably, insignificant Community Shield. FA Cup success came 21 months ago. The now out of work Roberto Di Matteo won both the FA Cup and the Champions League with Chelsea in the last 15 months, surely a far more impressive and significant trophy haul?
Let’s assume, though, that Mancini was alluding to those that are currently employed. Yes, Mancini is the only manager to have won the Premier League in the past 15 months and the dramatic fashion in which City did so is an achievement for which Mancini deserves great credit.
However, seeing as only one team can win the league and the fact that this year’s title has been all but wrestled back by the red half of Manchester, a simple tally up of trophies may not be the fairest barometer. If we’re using Mancini’s logic, Swansea manager Michael Laudrup or Phil Parkinson, manager of League Two Bradford City, will become the best manager of the last six months when one of them lifts the Capital One Cup later this month as no one else will have won a trophy in this time.
In the last 15 months, 53 Premier League fixtures have been played. So does Mancini posses the most enviable Premier League record? The answer is, unequivocally, no.
Mancini has won 33, lost 8 and drawn 12 of the last 53 Premier League games, a win percentage of 62%. Unsurprisingly the manager with the best record is Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson. Out of United’s 53 games in that period they won 41, lost 7 and drew just 5 meaning they have won a staggering 77% of their games in that period.
No other manager in the league can boast statistics anywhere near as impressive as the 15 month records of either Mancini or Ferguson, the closest being Arsene Wenger with a win ratio of just over 50%. Chelsea and Spurs have also been in decent form over the last 15 months but have done so with two different managers and it’s difficult to include them in the discussion.
Whether these simple statistics are enough to determine the best manager of the last 15 months is also questionable. With such financial means at his disposal, how do you measure whether or not Mancini is doing a better job than other Premier League managers that have comparatively meagre budgets?
The FA named Newcastle manager Alan Pardew as the manager of the season last year after he guided the Magpies to a fifth placed finish having spent a total on players that would equate to just over half what City paid for Sergio Aguero alone. You could also argue that Everton boss David Moyes has been the best manager in the last 15 months. In this time, Moyes has transformed Everton into genuine top four candidates, once again, on a comparatively small budget.
Whether or not Mancini is the best manager of the last 15 months is one question that will polarize opinion. Winning the Premier League is something that only 5 managers have achieved before him and is proof of Mancini’s undoubted managerial qualities.
Unfortunately for Mancini, whether or not he is the best manager in the last 15 months is almost irrelevant. The bigger question is to whether or not he will be at City for much longer. Mancini’s job demands prolonged success and while speculation as to his future has hardly reached crescendo levels yet, billionaire owners are an unforgiving breed and consistent failure to succeed in Europe could see that change swiftly.