This season has seen Roberto Mancini become more under the spotlight. From their early exit from the champions league to their derby defeat, Mancini’s managerial qualities have come under scrutiny. So is Mancini a master tactician or does he hide behind the money.
From his arrival at the Etihad, Mancini has spent a vast amount of money. It has brought success domestically as they are currently the premier league champions, but being dumped out of Europe with only two points has really become the main issue.
Something that has come to light is his tactical knowledge. In the big games his side has looked defensively vulnerable. From being completely outplayed home and away by Dortmund, to their last minute collapse against Madrid, a side with the best defensive record last season, has looked suspect this season.
Against the big teams there has always been a pattern in the play. With David Silva or Samir Nasri playing on the left, they both tuck in and leave the left back exposed. Manchester United exposed this area recently the derby. With over half their attacks coming down the right and Rooney’s second goal really exploiting City’s weakness.
Mancini has never had a good European record. An appearance in the quarter final for Inter Milan is the furthest he has taken a team. For the amount of money spent on players, failure in the group stage for the second successive season is not good enough. It may have been the group of death, but to only pick up two points through the whole campaign is disappointing.
Something that Mancini does in the big games is change his formation. He has gone from his favoured 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 to 3-5-2. He has made big decisions in games, none more recent that starting Mario Balotelli against Manchester United. A decision that backfired.
One thing for sure, when the January transfer window opens, he will look to bolster his squad. A strike force lacking goals and a defence leaking goals, Mancini will be eager to get the cheque book out again.
Already out of Europe, Mancini has to deliver the premier league crown. If he doesn’t, he could well be shown the door.