Roberto Mancini blames his players...finally
At St. Mary's Stadium on Saturday night, Manchester City boss, Roberto Mancini looked to the heavens for a sign as his team staggered from one self inflicted disaster to the next. With his team trailing 2-1 to struggling Southampton, a team winless in 12 matches, the Italian was praying that one of his charges could step up and score the goal that would help sway the match. His prayers were answered in the most spectacular way as Gareth Barry slotted cooly home from 12 yards, unfortunately though, Barry contrived to put the ball into his own net consigning City to their third defeat of the season effectively handing their title to Manchester United on a plate.
I must admit I felt for Mancini as the match ebbed away. Here he was on the sideline, impotent. The joy of last season long ago evaporated. His team, the team that he had selected for a 'must win' match had completely let him down. They had stopped playing for him. As the final whistle sounded, deep down in places that make him uncomfortable, he knows that this is the end for him at City and for once he decided to do the right thing in his post match interview.
So often, coaches stand there and blame, the referee, the pitch, the schedule. They deflect the blame away from the people responsible for the performance but not this time. Mancini cocked his double barrelled shotgun and let fly.
"When you play football and you are a top player, you should take your responsibility, always," Mancini told reporters. "It's not always the fault of the manager.
"The players should take responsibility – if they have big balls. If not, they can't play in a top team."
"I don't want to see a player like we saw (against Southampton). A player who plays like they should stay at home, not even be on the pitch.
"Usually, we play well and even when we don't play well we put everything on the pitch but we didn't even for that. That's the problem. Only this.
"They played better than us, they deserved to win, congratulations to Mauricio Pochettino, to Southampton, but I am very disappointed with our performance."
The one thing that Mancini didn't do that I was disappointed with was the lack of names. He called his team out but didn't find a specific target of which there were many. Perhaps he feels that one day he'll sign the same players again but at a different club, after all, he is extremely loyal, just ask Mario Balotelli. Still, I think that he should singled out some of his players and subjected them to the ridicule he is currently experiencing. These players who earn over a 100,000 pounds a week, surely their egos can handle a touch more public humiliation but Mancini probably thinking of his own playing days decided to hold back with his sniper sights.
I like Roberto Mancini, you don't win the Barclays Premier League without being a good manager but this season his instincts and man management have let him down and it will cost him his job. Don't feel sad for him though, he knows the game and he'll be back. As he said after the Southampton defeat, you have to have 'big balls' and there is no question, Mancini has a proper set.