Mancini can bring stability to Middle Eastlands

Times change and nowhere is it harder to keep up than at Manchester City – with the possible exception of today's opponents Portsmouth. In the corresponding fixture last season City ran up their biggest victory in Premier League history, 6-0, yet with Robinho's unlamented departure to Brazil, only Shaun Wright-Phillips of the six different goalscorers that day is still at the club.

A rare period of stability is long overdue and now there is an insistence from inside Middle Eastlands that City's followers are about to enjoy one. Mischievous noises from outside that Garry Cook, the voluble chief executive, is talking himself out of a job and that Roberto Mancini has not been trusted to spend in the current transfer window because he is on a six-month trial, are being officially rubbished. It is not unimaginable that there will be a late deal before tomorrow's deadline – Middlesbrough's Adam Johnson remains much admired – but City insist it was never the intention to replicate anything like the £50m splurge of a year ago.

There is, of course, money available, for fees and wages, all the more so since they will not be paying a penny of whatever salary Robinho can worm out of Santos until August. But the bank will not be raided to any degree, let alone broken, until the summer, when Mancini insists that he will be the man naming the names. The quality of player then available will also depend on whether City have made it into the Champions' League, which will still not be known until the middle of August if they face a qualifying round match after finishing fourth. "It's possible in the summer but not now," Mancini said of serious shopping. "I have a good team with good players. We have had some problems with injuries so we took Patrick [Vieira]. We must think about this season, the Premier and the FA Cup."

Not, of course, the Carling Cup, "not important any more" the manager said with a rueful smile, though he was genuinely pleased with his side's efforts against the less noisy neighbours up the road over two legs of the semi-final. What he did agree, tellingly, was how important it is to win that first trophy, which is why well-meaning advice to concentrate on the League will be ignored, when a fifth-round FA Cup tie at home to Stoke awaits. "After one important victory like the FA Cup, we can change the mentality. In the two games there is no difference [between us]. United have won a lot of trophies and [so] were relaxed."

Relaxation can work two ways and the casual kind will not be permitted in today's fixture against troubled opposition. Italian football had hardly been a model of financial probity, which Mancini is more aware of than most after his experiences at Fiorentina and Lazio. "We had the same problems but when we were on the pitch we didn't think [about it]," he said. "So I think this will be a difficult game for us. If you don't have the right mentality it can be very risky."

News
Disruption at Waterloo after a person was hit by a train
newsCancellations and disrupted service after person hit by train
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The almost deserted Liverpool Echo Arena on Monday
tvCan X Factor last in the face of plummeting numbers auditioning
News
Kirsty Bertarelli is launching a singing career with an album of songs detailing her observations of “real life”
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence