All eyes on Mancini after Cup defeats turn up heat

 

It's only 10 days since Roberto Mancini described so presciently why the next five months would grant Manchester United the easier ride. "They have won trophies for many years so they are quiet," he said. "They understand that they can play without pressure. For us it's different."

Even he didn't foresee the events of a mere week demonstrating his point, though Manchester City's FA and Carling Cup defeats in that time have undoubtedly transferred all the sound and fury across town. City had not lost two successive home games since February 2008 before United and Liverpool departed as conquistadors and now a fixture which might have seemed like a release mechanism – at Wigan Athletic tomorrow night – brings a pressure to demonstrate that those results do not belong to a more significant malaise.

When the Italian's assistant, David Platt, says he expects the world see a different Mancini from tomorrow night, he is not expecting a change in demeanour. He means that the cameras will hunt out signs of stress. "There will be more views of him on the bench during a game," Platt said. "People will look at him and be able to comment on a visual of him on the bench, depending how the result is going."

If those lenses discern negative emotion then the English game will finally see the real Mancini. "He gets angry," Platt explained. "I've seen him get angry when we're winning 3-0 at a misplaced pass, the fact somebody has a shot when there is somebody in a better position. He will put it away. The speed at which he puts things away is for the benefit of the next game. But the perception [of Mancini] will change from now."

How much of the pressure City's superficially serene manager can take is one of the most intriguing unknowns at the top of the English club game. Remember, he quit the Internazionale job in the Anfield press room, after a defeat in 2008 – albeit with boardroom machinations whirring in the background. Platt insists the idea of Mancini relinquishing this challenge is unthinkable. "His idea is not to win. It is to continue to win year-on-year, year-on-year. I know for a fact one of the things that floats his boat is the ability to come and change a club from not winning to winning – not just once but to have a behaviour of winning. He was involved very deeply with Sampdoria [for 15 years] and he had suitors left, right and centre to go to bigger clubs – the Inters, Juventuses etc, when he was playing. But he enjoyed the factof building something; of changing behaviour, changing the pattern. I don't think he's a typical Italian manager where people coach two years here, two years there. He didn't leave Inter. They got rid of him."

It is United's mental aspect which, Mancini also insisted a week ago, keeps them "two years" ahead of City. Now – with David Silva restored to the ranks at Wigan – comes the time to reveal that he can match them psychologically, even if his side cannot yet. "I've known him since he was 26, 27," Platt said. "I don't look at it and think to myself that this is somebody who will lose his head at all. Unfortunately we can't do anything about [events]. If we think we can stop what gets written year on year about title runs-ins we're sadly mistaken.So we might as well accept it's going to happen and focus on the games and continue to do what we've already done. That's what he will do."

Wigan Athletic v Manchester City is on Sky Sports 1 tomorrow, kick-off 8pm

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?