Friday, 30 April 2010

'If he's not happy, it would be better to change'

Today's papers are full of Roberto Mancini's surprising decision to speak publicly about Carlos Tévez's discontent:

Asked if he thought Tevez might be unhappy, Mancini replied: "I don't know. Tevez has four years left on his contract. But I don't know. If he's not happy, it would be better [for him] to change squads. If a top player is not happy to stay here, then it's better for him to go to another team...

"I've spoken to Tevez. What we said was private but I did remind him that there had been only one time when he had to train twice in a day.We have trained twice four times in the five months I have been here. On two of those times Carlos was in Argentina and one time he was here but didn't train. So I don't know why [he's unhappy]. When we don't have a midweek game I always train two times on Tuesday because it's the only way I know."

It's a surprise and a disappointment to see this bubbling up into the public sphere. I had hoped that Tévez's infamous Daily Mail interview was an aberration, a mistake, but it looks as if Tévez was being honest - he does seem to dislike Mancini's methods which, from the perspective of an outsider like me, do not sound too unreasonable. But then we cannot get too precious about the fact that Tévez is a prickly character. If he wasn't bolshie, stubborn and pointedly candid he would still be a very effective squad player at Manchester United. It's those qualities which drove him to City and so the fact that they still make up a big part of Tévez's character should not be a surprise.

But this reveals more about Mancini than it does about Tévez. The fact that Mancini has gone public with this, and put down our star man and Player of the Season-elect is important. I think it's the latest data point in a recent trend: Mancini's desire to cultivate and project managerial authority. With the exception of cash, managerial authority is the most important currency at any football club. It's a necessary part of any successful team. We certainly won't win anything without it. And Mancini arrived with none at all.

He was brought in to replace a popular manager, who had bought almost every member of the squad. He had no time to bring in his own players, and when he did only signed Patrick Vieira. He was likely to leave in the summer if we failed to come fourth, an open secret in football. It's hard to come up with a set of circumstances less conducive to an authoritative manager. And Mancini knew this. He also knew that if he was to have any success at City he would have to fight it, and show that he was boss. Hence the famous substitution of Robinho at Goodison, and shipping him back to Santos. Hence ordering Tévez home from Buenos Aires. Hence telling Wright-Phillips to keep quiet about his contract. Hence (temporarily) dropping Kolo Touré. Hence falling out with Craig Bellamy.

It might be ugly, and it might even cost us a good player or two, but Mancini has to show that he is in charge. Mark Hughes went through precisely the same process eighteen months ago, I called it 'Sparkyisation.' And I'm entirely supportive of it. We can't expect to do anything without a clear sense of managerial authority. Unfortunately, we're not a club that is well geared to that. With our demanding owners, our public and influential CEO and Football Administration Officer, our big stars on big contracts we have serious obstacles in the way. Cultivating managerial authority at City isn't easy. But someone's got to do it. Mancini's approach is absolutely necessary.


Anonymous said...

I agree it is absolutely necessary and although I believe Carlos Tevez to be our best player and the first 20 goal striker we have had in a long long time, I also believe if he's not happy then he should go.

I dont think its a case though as why would Carlos Tevez want to leave when he is loving his football, is a regular starter with no fear of loosing his place and is earning a nice packet.

I think this is the media making a meal of it tbh, atleast I believe it to be the case and hope it does pan out that way.

Tevez will be a huge loss and the last thing need right now, I predict Tevez and Mancini both stay at City.

budakon said...


I agree about needing to cultivate authority and well pointed out that Hughes went through the same uncomfortable process as well.

None the less this is still a slightly worrying situation since Hughes partly rectified it by recruiting a whole new squad of Hughes-type players. I don't really want to see a whole new squad come in again this Summer since it will then take another year for the new players to bed in and I feel right now we need to just be building on what we have with a few quality additions and a mini-clear out of those obviously not top tier players.

I also just don't like seeing an unsettled squad at City. It's been that way for far too long and we will not achieve anything until we build a good and settled team spirit. The likes of which Everton and Villa have done so well at cultivating.
Success = Skill + Spirit

It also concerns me that Tevez has been looking a little un-motivated and unhappy in the last couple of games and the prospect of two very expensive players in Tevez and Robinho agitating for cut-price moves this Summer will be just the ammunition the tabloids need for yet more anti-City drivel

Anonymous said...

I just wish Mancini, Cook and numerous City players would say less to the press. Conversations that reflect badly on the club should generally be carried on behind closed doors. Discipline is fundamental in management and player conduct. All too often our representatives are blurting out inappropriate comments.
See how Ferguson controls the press you didn’t know if Rooney was fit or not until the team sheet came out. If United want a player Fergie doesn’t talk about it. They work behind the scenes to get the deals done. We have to be more professional. Sometimes we look like blundering amateurs.

Mancini is always saying which players he is after.

StanMCFC said...

I'd dispute your assertion that Hughes was a popular manager. He may have been popular with signings he brought in like Bellamy, Santa Cruz, Tevez et al, but what about Elano, Petrov, Micah Richards etc?

The reports i heard, admittedly from a third hand source, was that he wasn't universally liked by the players. Far from it.

As for Mancini, I think he had to go public with this as the papers would write about Tevez "being unsettled" anyway. At least this establishes some boundaries about who is in charge and underlies the basic principle that the club is bigger than any one individual...

thomas said...

Hear, hear, good article. Mancini has to stamp his authority on the squad. He hasn't been helped the ambiguous nature of his tenure, is he here for the long term, of is he gone at the end of the season. If I were Mancini, I would want that in the open!

Mancini set the record straight here with the training, There is very little wrong with his methods, I should think if it's good enough for the cambiasso's, Ibra's off the world it's certainly good enough for Ireland and tevez.

I think the statement is right, unhappy players should go, But i don't think he's offering an ultimatum to Tevez, Mancini is honest and has a clear philosophy, i suggest this a bigger deal for mark ogden rather than carlos or roberto!

Blue Moon said...

Re Robinho: doesn't matter who the manager is next season, he's gone. He also will have to take a very, very substantial pay cut -- NO ONE is going to pay him $150k / wk. There is a reason why in the span of 4 years he has burned two bridges - he is who he is. Ask Elano how acting like a primadonna has worked out for his career.

Mancini had to go public once Tevez did. When you join City like Tevez, Robinho, etc. did, you placed yourself in a golden cage. NO ONE is going to match their wages - and since the cushy tax law in Spain is about to expire, the opportunities to make comparable money elsewhere are fading. I love Carlito, but he needs to pipe down cuz he has no options short of demanding to be sold and taking at least 50% less cash.

trinder said...

Since City paid £25m (or possibly £47m) for Tevez, he's had the best season of his career and is still three years from his peak. There are four years remaining on his £8m a year contract.

Whoever does want him is going to have to find something in the region of £35m (or £60m) and follow it up with £35m in wages. Which team can manage to do that? Not Liverpool, I'll wager.