Friday, 24 September 2010

Samuel / Mancini

There's a good interview in today's Daily Mail of Roberto Mancini, conducted by Martin Samuel. (Samuel did a similarly good one of Mark Hughes in roughly January 2009.) He comes across as determined and ruthless, which isn't exactly news, but there's some interesting stuff in there too.

He talks about the attraction of City being the chance to turn an unsuccessful club into a successful one, which offers a different sort of appeal from maintaining the status of an already dominant club:
'That is why I liked Manchester City. It is like Sampdoria: if we are successful, we change the history of this club and we change it for life. This is our moment. When people ask why do I come here, I tell them it is because Manchester City never win.

'For me, that is the best challenge. Inter Milan were a top team but they had not won the league for a long time; Lazio the same; Fiorentina the same; Sampdoria never win.

'These are good challenges because when you work for Real Madrid or Barcelona it is easy; all managers win at those clubs. But if you build a squad, work very hard for months and years at Manchester City and then you win, for me that would be more important. That would be fantastic.'
This is something that some of our new players spoke of on joining. Carlos Tévez has mentioned it too. (I can't find links right now but will try to rectify this later today). Of course for players that join for the money this is an effective cover story. But I don't think it's entirely artificial either. Mancini then goes into the importance of a 'winning mentality' at City, which we've heard of incessantly over the last few years. (Can't we just buy one?):
'There are players whose only target is their day off and that is a big problem. You must replace them with those whose target is the win against Chelsea, then against Arsenal, then against Manchester United, who will work every day for this. Yes, there is still the day off, but you must never lose your focus even then.

'Before, at this club, there were players whose targets were wrong, but that mentality is changing. Those whose targets were wrong are the ones who have left. I tell them there is no day off now. The top players will play Saturday in the Premier League, Tuesday in the Champions League, Saturday in the Premier League; it is impossible to rest. Yes, there is one day you can use to recover, to have a massage, but your head must always be on the pitch and on your job...

'At some clubs you do not have to change mentality,' explained Mancini.

'For Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea it was already there.'
Generating a winning mentality seems to be the alchemist's trick in Premier League football. Sir Alex Ferguson has spent almost a quarter-century nurturing one at United, José Mourinho imposed one through force of will, Arsenal had it but appear to have let it slip. I don't think we have it yet but I do think that we're moving in the right direction, and that Mancini has the right idea. I certainly support him in his attempts to cajole and bully the players in the right direction.

There's more interesting stuff there, including his relationships with Adebayor, Shay Given, Mario Balotelli and even the line that Adam Johnson could 'change his mentality to improve', which I think isn't quite as surprising as it might be. The whole thing is certainly a good Friday afternoon read.


Bluephill said...

This is very similar to an interview in La Gazzetta this week. In fact, it's almost a word for word translation thereof.
Interesting nonetheless.

Bluephill said...