Though there has not been any football to report on this week has seen Roberto Mancini come out with some classic comments to keep us entertained. Inoculated City can’t help but wonder whether he is having a laugh and playing with the press which love to exert pressure on him.
Following Mancini’s comments after the Sunderland game last week where he put football in its place by suggesting that real pressure is only experienced by those who go to war, not those who play football (see last week’s blog), he has taken a different tact this week and is seemingly having fun with the media.
The big news this week is Manchester United player, Wayne Rooney’s two match ban as a result of swearing to a camera after scoring a hat-trick against West Ham. Whether the punishment is right or wrong is open to debate but it seems a little far fetched for Mancini to suggest that he is “disappointed” that Rooney will miss the FA Cup Semi-Final clash between City and United. Although, Mancini explained he felt this way because in the big games you want the biggest players’ playing which, on reflection, is true. It may be a disappointment for the neutral that Rooney will be absent. Yet, surely for Mancini he must be delighted that such a potentially threatening footballer is going to be absent. Isn’t Mancini just having a laugh with press and trying to wind up a few people in the process?
What was astounding was the way in which the media pounced on Mancini’s comments as if they were deadly serious. The BBC boldly splashing headlines on their website to give the effect that war had just broken out. Having said that, that is one of the beauties of foreign football managers in English press conferences: the manager often doesn’t fully understand the press and vice versa. The miscommunications can often be comical as proven on this occasion.
Mancini also spared some time to put Joey Barton in his place this week. In response to Joey Barton’s rant about the state of the England team and, in particular, the branding of Gareth Barry as a “teacher’s pet”, Mancini simply stated “Joey Barton is a good player but Gareth Barry is a fantastic player.” Though opinion is divided on Barry amongst the City faithful he is definitely a fantastic player compared to Barton.
Prize buffoon Robbie Savage also got in on the act on Match of the Day 2 as he carefully scrutinised Barton’s every move against Aston Villa on Sunday. Savage was clearly unhappy with Barton’s comments and simply demonstrated that Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshire, the players Barton singled out, are in fact better than Barton. Whether you agree or not is really not the point but you have to admit it was funny.
So in a week with no football, Roberto Mancini has ensured that he has kept the City fans entertained with some strange but wonderful commentary. For a refreshing insight into the irritatingly monotonous Wayne Rooney ban saga I strongly recommend watching Charlie Brooker’s take on it all from last week’s 10 O’Clock Live.
Next week: it gets serious again. City take on Liverpool on Monday night in the league and then it is the big one: the eagerly anticipated FA Cup Semi-Final against United. At least you can rest assured there will not be any swearing as foul mouthed tyrant, Wayne Rooney, will be watching from the stands.
Words by Rob Toole