Friday, 8 October 2010

More from Mancini

There's more from Roberto Mancini's Gazzetta interview beyond his admission of a 'con le palle' confrontation with Tévez.

This system, he said, would change shortly. "It's out of necessity. [Emmanual] Adebayor has just recovered from injury, [Mario] Balotelli not so. Without flying full backs like [Jérôme] Boateng and [Aleksandar] Kolarov, who can push forward, I've had to adjust the team to get results and stay in touch with the leaders. But only until everyone is back and fit."
I take his point. Injuries have forced us towards 4-5-1, and the absence of our first choice full-backs has been a particular blow. (No one we've used at full-back this season has been of the level of Kolarov or Boateng, and some of the time we've been playing with centre-backs at full-back instead.) When we have those two back, plus the option of Adebayor alongside Tévez or Balotelli from wide, we'll be better.

That said, one could just as easily argue that those limitations mean we should try to maximise creativity where possible. I would certainly claim that in the absence of attacking full-backs or a partner for Tévez it makes more sense, not less, to play all three attacking midfielders (Adam Johnson, James Milner and David Silva) and two of the cautious options. Aces full of grunts, as it were, makes more sense when there's no Kolarov, Balotelli or Boateng than it does when they're all available. It's when Kolarov and Boateng are galloping up and down the flanks that we'll really need Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry to fill in the gaps.

"Adam is young, but he has got what it takes. He just needs to understand it is not enough to dribble past an opponent six times to feel entitled to think he reached the top. You need to dribble but you also need a cutting shot like the goal against Juve [in the Europa League], or the 2-1 win against Newcastle. If I didn't believe in Adam's potential I would not work him like this."
I do like that last line. The distant fear, for me, is that he'll get so frustrated by the bench that he'll storm off to Villa or Spurs. Obviously I'm being silly and this is miles beyond the horizon. But I'm keen that this is more of a Ferguson/Giggs relationship than, say, a Mourinho/Balotelli one.

And on the merits of the issue Mancini is correct. Johnson does need to add shooting to his dribbling skills. Given he doesn't really cross that well, his running at defenders is only valuable if he can score (or 'win' a penalty, which he is very adept at doing.) Up until last week, he'd scored one goal for City and won three penalties. That ratio is now up to three and three, after his goals against Juventus and Newcastle. Maybe he's learning from the criticism. But he's certainly moving in the direction Mancini wants him to, which is good for the both of them and good for all of us.


Greg said...

Ask any Boro fan and they will tell you AJ is one of the best crossers of the ball, Its just on the right he has to cut back and is limited with his options.

Dominic said...

As the commentators on Fifa 11 have rightly pointed out to me - "It takes two people to make a good cross". The recipient's use of the cross invariably determines the 'quality' of the ball provided by the crosser. I would add that we seem to always be lacking players arriving in the box which means that most crosses are seen as speculative and of poor quality.

I'm confident that Mancini has seen enough of Johnson to realise that he has terrific potential which is best harvested by using the 'tough-love' approach.

The Electric Donkey said...

You seem much more convinced of Boateng's quality then I am. I am not convinced either way, but so far he doesn't look to have a final ball or a good eye for a pass.

Football 足球 The language of the beautiful game said...
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Football 足球 The language of the beautiful game said...
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Football 足球 The language of the beautiful game said...

I think Mancini has done well considering the amount of injuries we've had and if we win at Blackpool tomorrow the early season cautiousness will have been the foundation of the gap between us and those chasing us. When we have everyone fit and firing, we're going to take some beating.

We've only let one "proper" league goal in this season if you discount the contentious pen at Sunderland and the absolute calamity of calamities against Blackburn.

We're looking solid and this is a new team so this augers well for the future. Blue Army!

...I can just hear the South Stand singing it now!