Ian Holloway: Mancini mistaken in bringing back Tevez and splitting dressing room


Click to follow
The Independent Football

I have a strong feeling that Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will end up regretting bringing Carlos Tevez back. Mancini was doing great, he had made a stand and told Tevez he wouldn't play for the club again.

He was praised by the media, it won him the respect of his squad, and everything was going swimmingly. Then he announces Tevez has apologised, and he, as manager,is prepared to let him play again.

I can understand why he did it. Tevez is a world-class player and Mancini wants to make history at Eastlands by winning the Premier League, so the more quality playershe has available the better.

That's the theory. But in reality, something very different has happened. Football is all about the group, and bringing Tevez back has upset the dynamic.

Take Mario Balotelli. His antics last week against Sunderland were condemned, but I bet my bottom dollar the reason for all that arguing on the pitch was because he doesn't want Tevez there.

Balotelli had started to focus and was becoming the player Mancini wanted him to be. But Balotelli is the kind of person who wants to be the big fish even in a big pool, and with Tevez back he no longer feels like that.

On top of that, I think Balotelli feels slighted that a player who didn't care a jot about his team-mates during a difficult stage of the seasonhas been forgiven and allowed back into the fold.

Players aren't machines. They have feelings and emotions, and in a sport like football – where togetherness is so important – they will turn against someone who they think has gone against them. Some players at City will forgive Tevez and be OK about his return, but others won't.

As an outsider looking in, it seems to have split the dressing room, and the spirit that City had a month or so ago has gone AWOL.

Compare that to the neighbours down the road and the difference is glaringly obvious. They don't allow petulance at Old Trafford and they certainly wouldn't let a player with a bad attitude back into the fold.

The manager sets the tone at a club and everyone at Old Trafford is scared stiff of Sir Alex Ferguson. You do what he says and because he never drops his standards, the players don't either. Ferguson wouldn't change his mind about something. Mancini has, and that gives off the wrong signals.

If you make a stance, you have to be committed to that stance. That hasn't happened at City and it could cost them the title.

Messi makes me want to cry

Lionel Messi puts some English players to shame – and I'm talking about off the pitch rather than on it.

We have some lads in this country not fit to lace Messi's boots who are big-headed, moan about cash and cause problems for their managers.

I wish they would just watch a Lionel Messi interview. This lad, the best footballer to have ever played the game, is so humble it almost makes me want to cry. He thanks his manager, his team-mates and he always plays down his role in the team. Off the pitch, I don't think he has been involved in a single scandal.

The boy is a wonderful example to kids all over the planet, and I just wish a few more of our lads were like that.

Judge Dalglish next season

The media need to have it in for someone and Kenny Dalglish fits their bill at the moment. All I can say is that I would love to have had such a bad season – won one Cup competition and be in the semi-finals of another.

Yes, they want to do better in the League, but look at the injuries they have had. Losing Lucas Leiva was a massive blow for them. Last week they had Jonjo Shelvey in midfield. He was with us at Blackpool on loan before Christmas, so would Jonjo be in Liverpool's starting XI if everyone was fit? Probably not, and that shows you the problems Kenny has got.

Everyone knows why Kenny is getting stick: it's because he spent a bit of money and so everyone expects instant success. But you have to look at how fierce the competition is at the top end of the Premier League. They had miles to catch up and there is no doubt they are a better all-round team now than they were 12 months ago.

City had to spend a load more than Liverpool to make a breakthrough. These things take time, and Kenny should be judged next season.

Q: Will there be a woman manager in the Premier League? A: Not a chance

Lawrie Sanchez believes there could be a woman manager in the Premier League in the next 10 years. That got me thinking. Could it really happen? Answer: not a chance.

Now I don't want to receive letters from millions of angry ladies, so let me explain. I can see a day when there will be a woman in charge of a big team. But unless some rich owner buys a club and makes his wife the boss, it certainly won't happen in the next decade. The reason for that is that only the very top teams play in the Premier League, and by definition they have the top managers.

Now in football it takes time to build a reputation and prove you are a good coach and tactician. Unless you are very lucky, you don't walk into a great job – you have to start at the bottom and work your way up.

There are some very fine female coaches, not least Hope Powell, who did terrific work with the England women's team. But the women's game is very different to the men's. She has no experience of coaching men's teams and so her CV is nowhere near good enough to coach in the Premier League.

I'm not saying she couldn't do it, but you have to be realistic. The women's and men's game are very separate and, as yet, there's no sign of any crossover.

But just like there are now female officials in the top flight because they've worked hard over a number of years to prove they are good enough, there may one day be a female manager in the top flight. But not yet, and it is going to take an exceptionally talented lady to break through.

Not quiet on the Preston front

There was a big story in Lancashire this week about some Preston players leaking their line-up to the opposition. The PNE manager, Graham Westley, was furious, and understandably so.

I've experienced the same but from the other side. When I was at QPR, a lad from a team we were due to play against told one of my players their starting XI. My player passed it on to me and we won the match. Like Westley at Preston, the manager at the other club found out and there was an almighty bust-up.

But to be honest, I'm not convinced knowing an opposition team in advance makes too much of a difference. The main issue is that you, as a gaffer, know that some of your lads are working against you. That's the hard bit to take.

A dressing room should be tight and united. You need that "all for one" mentality to get you through a season and if one of your lads is going behind your back it is a killer.

Change frightens people and maybe the Preston players don't like what Westley is trying to do. But if that is the case he will have to change them, because it has now become a battle between manager and players and someone will win.

Tangerines dreaming again

I can't help but get a bit excited about Blackpool and our chances of going up.

When we came down from the Premier League last season everyone was saying we'd never get back to the promised land. So it is nice to stick a couple of fingers in the direction of the critics and be in the play-off positions.

I am not saying we will get promoted. The Championship is a ferocious league but the fact we have recovered so well from the horrendous disappointment of going down by a single point fills me with pride. Whatever happens, this season has been a massive success and I could not be more proud of my boys in tangerine.