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Thursday 23 January 2020

Alan Hansen: Departing boss had golden chance to build a dynasty – he blew it

Roberto Mancini had a golden opportunity to blow Manchester United out of the water and dominate the Premier League for years and years – but he has not done it, and that is why he will be out of a job this week.

After winning the league last year it was all there for Mancini to take Manchester City to the next level but he had his opportunity and, sadly, his dismissal became inevitable when United regained the title.

I am a big fan of giving managers a chance, but if you are pumping that sort of money into a club, as City have done over the last few years, you should undoubtedly be going forward.

The way big clubs are run now, if you do not do it, the paymasters will not take any prisoners, regardless of what you have achieved in the past. A title and an FA Cup does of course constitute success, but at the same time City have stood still and not improved.

All Mancini needed to do last summer was bring in three or four top signings and City could have transformed the face of English football. They could have put it all to bed and you only had to look at the disappointment on the faces of the United players when they came off the field at the Stadium of Light last season after losing out to City on the final day to see that.

It was all there for Mancini, it would have been easy to attract quality players and it did not need significant changes.


With Alex Ferguson's retirement across the city after more than 26 years, it is almost like a second bite of the cherry for City, but they are set to sack another manager and will have to start all over again.

Ten years ago managers would have been given a bit more time but there is none of that now, not when the stakes are so high and there is so much money being thrown at it.

There have been rumours all season that he has been told which players he should be signing and the moment that starts happening, you are finished and should be out of the door. You cannot have an owner or chairman telling you what players would be best for your team.

The players Mancini did sign have had little or no impact and that is inexcusable when you have just won a title.

There have been other factors that will have cost Mancini and I firmly believe he will look back at the way he dealt with Mario Balotelli and feel that played a massive part in this season's underachievement.

Balotelli was proving a total distraction on and off the field and Mancini did not resolve it quickly enough. When you have got a player behaving like that it just breeds complacency in the dressing room. Other players will think, "Well if he got away with it, why can't I?"

Can you imagine Ferguson dealing with Balotelli like that? You only need to look at how he has handled the Wayne Rooney situation – something has clearly happened there, but Rooney is left out of the team for the Real Madrid game and then left out altogether yesterday against Swansea. There has been no doubt who the boss is.

But Mancini allowed the Balotelli issue to fester and it is one of the factors that I would say has ended up costing him his job.

Now it seems that Manuel Pellegrini will be coming in and, of course, the pressures on him are going to be just as fierce as they will be for David Moyes at United and whoever comes in at Chelsea.

In football there is only one person responsible for everything and that is the manager. Pellegrini is an unknown in terms of the Premier League so he will have to hit the ground running.

He has done an excellent job at Malaga and they came very close to beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, which is obviously no mean feat.

One of his main challenges will be improving Manchester City in that competition, but who is to say they will not get another group of death for the third season running?

There are no guarantees, but I have always said if City won another league title, their form in the Champions League would have come in time. Their team would have grown and developed and become more confident in how to deal with the competition.

But the merry-go-round is set to spin again and for Mancini, he had his chance and he failed. It may look a harsh decision, but by failing to build on what he had already achieved I am afraid it was always going to happen. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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