Mancini delivers clear message to underachieving striker Robinho

12 January 2010 01:14
Even if it has been in less than perfect English, Roberto Mancini has said all the right things about some of his more temperamental players since arriving to manage Manchester City. Every member of the squad is important, he says.

Nevertheless, actions often speak louder than words in football and on Monday the Italian's decision to leave the Brazilian Robinho on the substitutes' bench at the start of play said everything about the early impressions he has formed at Eastlands.

Robinho, remember, is still the Barclays Premier League's most expensive player and one of its most highly paid. The former Real Madrid player cost £32.5million and earns £160,000 a week.

He is, however, maddeningly ineffective on a stage that demands persistent and constructive effort from all those lucky enough to appear on it.

Get the message: Mancini (right) relays information to Robinho

Last season his contribution was limited strictly to home games while this season one admittedly interrupted by serious injury he hasn't even managed that.

When Mancini took charge of his first City game, at home to Stoke City on Boxing Day, much was made of the fact that Craig Bellamy was not in the team.

Given that City had another, harder, game at Wolves two days later that particular decision was not actually so significant.

Going through the motions: Robinho had to be told to warm-up twice

However, the decision to leave Robinho among the understudies on Monday most certainly was. Against Stoke, Robinho was City's worst player. Against Blackburn we were given a true insight into Mancini's mind.

Those who played with the City manager at club and international level in Italy whispered when he arrived at Eastlands that Robinho would not be his cup of espresso.

Mancini, by all accounts, likes players who can play but who also understand the value of team ethics.

Midway through the second half last night, Robinho illustrated that perhaps he still doesn't get it.

Shortly before he was introduced in the 68th minute, he was asked towarm up. He did so begrudgingly and sat back down. Mancini told him todo it again. He did, with a long and exaggerated shake of the head.

It was playground behaviour from a player who considers himself tobe a world star and a cameo that will have told Mancini all he needs toknow, if indeed he hadn't sussed it out already.

His predecessor Mark Hughes knew all about Robinho's limitations,too. The problem was that the Welshman felt compelled to pick him.

Mancini clearly does not feel that need and it was clear from the outset that he had made the right decision.

Lightweight: The Brazilian (left) failed to make an impact when he came on

In Bellamy and Carlos Tevez, City have forwards who fully understandwhat is required and they can expect to be central to Mancini's plans,as indeed they were last night.

With the Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz not fully recovered froman ankle injury, there was a rare start for the Zimbabwe forwardBenjani here. But it was Bellamy and Tevez who carried much the greaterthreat.

Bellamy will always trouble defenders with his direct running. He is an early candidate for Player of the Year. And not just at City.

Tevez, meanwhile, has finally rediscovered the confidence he never seemed to have fully as a Manchester United player. Maybe it is the responsibility he is thriving on. Or maybe it is what comes with playing regular games.

His hat-trick on Monday was superb and for Mancini it must be pleasing to see one of his star players blossoming. Even if others can't. Or won't.

 Manchester City 4 Blackburn 1: Don't look now Sir Alex. Manchester United old boy Carlos Tevez fires City into title race Carlos flies high again: Tevez hat-trick fires City into the top fourChelsea lead Arsenal and Manchester City in chase for Racing Santander's Spanish starlet Sergio CanalesALL THE MANCHESTER CITY FC

Source: Daily_Mail

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