Thursday, 14 January 2010

Mancini speaks

There's a big advantage in having a foreign manager rather than a British one: the manager will talk freely to the press in his home country, and those interviews will inevitably be translated and reported in England. An interview that Mancini has done with Corriere dello Sport is in the 'papers today. Mancini says that he is pleased with progress so far and hopeful for the future:

"I have given City more balance and a greater sense of conviction," he said. "The potential is incredible, but you need to draw it out. And the road ahead is long." He added that he was relishing the "challenge" of playing against "immortal" sides such as Liverpool and Manchester United, City's opponents in the Carling Cup semi-final this month.

Mancini, who also admitted that his long-term ambition is to move back to Italy to take over the national team, said that he had been struck, since his move to City, by "the incredible fans, very strong players and a well-organised club".

This is good. And he's right - we certainly do have more balance and more conviction since he's arrived. Some of it was rather baffling though. His claim that "here it [media coverage of football] is about football and gossip, and not referees, dodgy goals and suspicions" is bizarre, given the depth of analysis we get on Match of the Day or any Sky Sports match.

Even stranger is this:

"I will calmly make corrections to what they eat before matches," City's manager told the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport. "You need more chicken, pizza, carbohydrates. As well as a glass of wine, which isn't being served."

So much for the presumption that all Italian managers are as fussy as Fabio Capello about this sort of thing.


Philip said...

Not bizarre if you have watched Italian coverage of football, believe me. English football is a liberating experience in comparison. Mancio suffered particularly badly from this sort of cynical, referee-focussed media coverage when at Inter.

trinder said...

Philip, have you watched Italian coverage of Italian or English football? There's a good point tucked away in this piece: that post-match analysis in England is just dire.

Do the Italians talk about tactics, formations, phases of the game and patterns of play with more authority and insight than the numbskull ex-pros and puffy hacks that flatten the sofas of Sky, BBC and ITV?

What I'd give for an hour or two of intelligent debate on a couple of games and how. they were won and lost each week.

Philip said...

Yes, they do have a more intelligent level of post-match discourse (which, admittedly, wouldn't be hard!). Much more discussion of tactics, almost to the point of obsession, and in my experience the coverage of English football in Italy is much less focussed on the refereeing decisions than when talking about Serie A (because, of course, there is a long history and culture of questioning the propriety of refereeing decisions in italian football that is bound up with the identity of the clubs, fanbases, media and so on).

Mourinho himself recently observed that Italian post and pre match discussion is tactics-obsessed. Interestingly, I'm not sure it makes for a more entertaining 'product', as Garry Cook would say, for the average armchair fan who cares little for these things - as the Premier League's worldwide success attests.

However, I do think that the mid-level teams in Serie A are much better and more imaginatively managed, and generally make life harder for their more illustrious counterparts, than do the equivalent English teams. Just look at Blackburn's pathetic showing against us for an example.

trinder said...

That's interesting. Cheers. It sounds as though something between the platitudes of the Brians and Martins and the tactical fixations of the Luigis and Francos would be about right.

Daniel said...

More chicken! Classic!

Thomas said...

mancini also says things with a sense of humour, certianly said with a little tongue and cheek, that doesnt coem across in written press!

Anonymous said...

Mancini described United as 'immortal'. He said nothing about Liverpool. Stop trying to soften the blow.