The standings don’t lie, right? Not after 30 games? I ask because Roberto Mancini thinks the Premier League chart is being a little dishonest.
Mancini’s Manchester City are fifteen points behind United ahead of Monday’s Manchester derby but the City manager feels that the whole won, lost, tied thing is somewhat economical with the truth.
“We don’t deserve to stay 15 points behind,” he said. “[United] have played well, they have won a lot of games and the last time they lost was at Norwich 18 games ago, so they deserve to stay on the top. But not by 15 points. It is not a true table.”
City were top after 30 matches last season, but only on goal difference from Sir Alex Ferguson’s crew, who’d played one fewer game. They’d scored 72 goals and conceded 22. Today? 55 goals for, 26 against.
“The difference is that we have scored 20 goals less than last year. Only this is the difference,” Mancini asserted. “We have conceded the same amount, we have the best defence again, but we are missing only these goals. We had a lot of injuries, we lost Sergio [Agüero], we lost Mario [Balotelli] and Mario scored 15 goals last season. We need to improve our team. Not like last summer. We are a young team. It is only two years that we have played for the title.”
Mancini’s warmed to this theme before, presumably alluding to the fact that United bought Robin van Persie and City didn’t. And last month he lamented the failure to sign another defender in January to cover for the injured Vincent Kompany. But does anyone really want to hear the manager of a club with City’s resources complain about a lack of transfer spending? The failure of last summer’s recruits to pan out is on Mancini. So, too, the loss of form and apparent enthusiasm of some of his players.
As for the “lost” Balotelli – well, Mancini decided to sell him to AC Milan in January.
Maybe the surrender of their long-awaited league title could have been more easily forgiven had City not been so abject in the Champions League.
But City have regressed, Mancini must shoulder much of the blame, and the truth is, they’ve got what they deserved.