Mancini reluctant to shake off the shackles
Friday 07 January 2011
It is not the first time, and it certainly will not be the last, that Manchester City come under the microscope for their defensive mindset under Roberto Mancini. But do not expect the safety-first approach to change. In the mix for the Premier League title, extending an impressive ratio of 11 clean sheets from 22 games at Arsenal on Wednesday suggests further shut-outs this season could take on vital importance.
The criticism of Mancini, from some quarters, is that he is too negative, his tactics too rigid, and he does not have the flexibility to know when to go for all-out attack. Despite all that money being spent, the likes of struggling Wolves have scored more home goals than Mancini's team. After failing to register a meaningful shot on goal at the home of their title rivals, they were accused of lacking ambition as the Arsenal supporters chanted "Boring, boring City."
But assistant manager Brian Kidd made no apologies for his side getting men behind the ball. "If you speak to anybody in the game, they will tell you keep clean sheets and you have got a great chance," he said. "Make no mistake about it, that was a very good Arsenal side. But we didn't capitulate in the face of their initial onslaught. The lads stuck at it and in the second half we got to grips with it.
"It was a good point earned. After the first 25 minutes if we had got the chance to attack Arsenal we would have done, wouldn't we? But Arsenal had the ascendancy. They played some terrific football, they shifted the ball around and it was lovely to watch. But from our point of view, our resilience was great because we could have gone under. It wasn't dissimilar to a Champions League game where you go away from home and pull a 0-0. It was that type of game. So the solidity we showed and the fight and character was great."
Mancini has lavished millions on strikers but can only find room for one, Carlos Tevez, when it comes to key games. Having learned his trade in Serie A, perhaps it is no surprise that his philosophy is to win games first, and to entertain second.
Yet if City have ambitions of becoming part of the English football elite, as well as earning admiration, then would they have to shake off the shackles? "I don't understand why people keep labelling it 'the Italian way'," said Kidd. "Obviously the boss is Italian. But his philosophy and principles are simple – work hard and look to improve and that's what he has said since he's come to the club.
"The lack of attacking football was not for the want of trying at Arsenal. By no stretch of the imagination, the manager doesn't restrict anybody. He wants people to go forward."
Latest in Sport
Ashes 2015 live: Latest score and updates with Australia on the brink of humiliating defeat after Jimmy Anderson claims David Warner wicket
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Spanish club resume £28m pursuit after fending Manchester United off Sergio Ramos
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey
Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United: Has Memphis Depay revealed 'mystery striker' target?
Radamel Falcao scores two goals in two games for Chelsea - half what he scored in a season for Manchester United
- 1 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 2 Cara Delevigne addresses awkward interview on Good Day Sacramento
- 4 How to cancel Amazon Prime: after Top Gear hiring, how to leave premium service
- 5 MH370 debris: Investigators 'confident' that Boeing 777 wing found - live updates
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Calais crisis: For desperate migrants it is 'England or death' as they brave dogs, riot police and speeding trains