Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday December 1 2011
Roberto Mancini's 3rd Boxing Day in Manchester will be realised this month and the dapper City gaffer heads into December with his boss's ringing endorsement behind him...
Few could have imagined on the dark, tense winter's night when Mancio came to town that His Highness Sheikh Mansour's man would fuse a squad to bring a trophy, Champions League football and a power shift to Manchester inside two stunning years.
Despite what any straw clutching rival or anti-City hack might say, Mancio is a winner and his record in Manchester is testament to that fact.
Since December 2009 he has overseen 108 competitive City performances. City's fans have only tasted defeat 22 times during his tenure. Previously, Thaksin Shinawatra's appointment Mark Hughes who has been publically critical of the man from Lesi's methods shipped 25 defeats across 77 contests.
Expand the Mancini record out over his times in charge of Inter and Fiorentina and out of 362 games, the shrewd Italian has registered only 64 losses. That's a back catalogue right up there with the game's very best coaches.
Sheikh Mansour is nobody's fool and yesterday, through Al Ittihad's pages underlined his faith in the City boss:
'We are all satisfied with what has been achieved...the success and development at this level, but you must have patience. Sometimes I meet a lot of Emirati and Arab brothers in London, and see them criticise the work of the manager Roberto Mancini, but I think that his plans are going on the right path.'
Such has been The Citizens meteoric resurgence, they reached The Champions League ahead of schedule. Certainly a third place finish wasn't envisaged and Mancini echoed the sentiments of many Blues in suggesting the campaign could be a bridge too far this season. Sheikh Mansour backed that view up by revealing the club's main target:
'We must not forget that our main objective is to win the English Premier League and if we achieve that, then it will have an impact on the team and the club as a whole and will show we can achieve anything...those who want to win championships and trophies have to adapt...and be ready to face the challenges.'
One of the more desperate opposition hopes of the past 3.5 years has been the suggestion that City's owner will walk away from East Manchester and the community regeneration that he is pumping millions into. It's nonsense:
'We have to ask ourselves where we have been and what Manchester City have become now, just to realise that what we have accomplished is great. Hard work is still required, but without any hurry.
'God willing we will visit City again soon...Even if the circumstances have prevented us from going there, we are following every detail, and provide all aspects of support for those in charge of things there, in order to achieve
the aspirations and wishes of the fans.'
all times East Manchester
Sa 03 Dec 15:00 Norwich, The Etihad, PL
We 07 Dec 19:45 Bayern, The Etihad, CL
Mo 12 Dec 20:00 Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, PL
Su 18 Dec 16:10 Arsenal, The Etihad, PL
We 21 Dec 19:45 Stoke, The Etihad, PL
Mo 26 Dec 15:00 West Brom, The Hawthorns, PL
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Date:Thursday December 1 2011
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