It may not be a popular opinion among United fans but there’s a case to be made that Mancini’s mind games last season had an effect on the title race. Despite having no great love for him, the City boss deserves a bit of credit where it’s due.
As his team faltered and seemingly handed an unsurmountable lead to United, Mancini dismissed City’s title chances even when they controlled their own destiny. Whether it had any effect on his players or helped lull United into a false sense of security is open to debate but there’s no denying that as soon as Mancini claimed City wouldn’t win the league, they began looking more like a side that would.
Mancini lifted the pressure from his side and placed it firmly with Sir Alex’s and unlike any other season bar perhaps 1997/98 the Reds faltered in the final furlong when title number twenty seemed almost assured.
It seems the City boss has been at it again, trying to put the pressure on the Reds by claiming we’re favourites for the title.
Mancini recently stated:
“I think United start as the favourite team this year.
“We are maybe second, third or fourth position. I am confident with my players. We won the last championship because we deserved to win. We won in the last minute but we deserved it. Also because we beat a fantastic team like United. For this, I’m confident with my players.”
Although that may seem like a touch of the false disbelief in his side that Mancini is becoming renowned for this time I think the City boss is actually spot on.
In the last campaign United began the season with no Paul Scholes, a goalkeeper unaccustomed to the Premier League, then lost the likes of Tom Cleverley for a number of months, Danny Welbeck just as he was hitting top form and more tellingly Nemanja Vidic for the entire season.
Looking ahead to the coming season, United should have a much stronger goalkeeper, defence – despite the injuries- midfield and even attack as Danny Welbeck and Chicharito can hopefully move up a notch.
City on the other hand have the same squad that won the title on goal difference, just imagine if they’d just missed out without Vincent Kompany and he now returned?
Although the balance can shift with just one signing- no I’m not going to mention the Dutchman- and the idea that City could finish fourth is laughable the little Italian does make a point.
No one really likes to start anything as favourites as it often adds unwanted pressure and the bookies certainly don’t agree with Mancini as nearly all of them favour City. Call me over-optimistic but I think with Nemanja back and the addition of Shinji Kagawa in particular, the squad looks stronger than it did last season so why shouldn’t United be favourites?
Do you agree? As it stands do you think United are set to ‘regain’ our trophy or is it City’s to lose?
Answers on a brick through the usual window or comment below: