As a direct consequence of their monolithic fiscal prowess, nowhere is pressure to be felt more keenly than at the sharp end of Manchester City’s footballing enterprise these days.
With £500-odd million already frittered away into the ether, manager Roberto Mancini is the man currently doomed to somehow begin delivering instant results with an undeniably talented yet flaw-riddled, fragmented and hopelessly one-dimensional side – time, as they say, is not really a viable option.
Mancini has been on his boot-heels all week, feverishly eschewing rumours of unrest within his bloated squad hither and dismissing tales of his imminent resignation thither – even desperately venturing to blame the ‘nationalist English press’ for the swarm of bad press that in enveloping Eastlands at present.
The beleaguered City coach’s immediate future at the club was plunged into even greater doubt last night as he oversaw his side toil to their third successive defeat, eventually losing 3-1 to Polish outfit Lech Poznan in the Europa League.
However, speaking in a post-match interview with So Foot magazine, the Italian remained adamant that he would not be resigning from his post:
“For me it is totally clear, I will stay at City until they fire me. I’ve seen the owner Sheikh Mansour two or three times and we have a good relationship.
I also have very frequent contact with the president, Khaldoon Al Mubarak. We speak three or four times a week and he often comes to training.”
Referring to the rain-soaked defeat in Poland, Mancini added:
“At the moment everything is against us, we are very unlucky. I’m disappointed because we didn’t deserve to lose this game.
We played a good game and we had a lot of chances to win but we must continue to work.
We lost the last three games but that is football, sometimes you play well, you deserve to score but you don’t.”
Whereas there was a certain an element of serendipity involved in the second of Lech Poznan’s goals at the Stadion Miejski (centre-back Dedryck Boyata headed his clearance against the clueless Manuel Arboleda), the two long-range strikes from Dimitrije Injac and the lively Mateusz Mozdzen that ensured, and then padded-out, the victory were both moments of genuine quality – the likes of which City systematically struggled to produce throughout their impotent display.
Mancini is reported to have been tasked with securing at least a fourth-place finish in the league this season in order to play in the 2011/12 Champions League and, to that end, it’s hard to argue that he’s not on course to fulfil that particular remit.
City are currently sitting fourth in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s trip to fellow countryman Roberto Di Matteo‘s in-form West Brom, but after the three consecutively dour performances, Mancini must now be genuinely concerned that a fourth may be the tipping point that forces his oligarchical employer’s hand.