Comment & analysis round-up
Quote of the day: “I don’t think the other weekend results changed anything, other than possibly simplifying the situation. We know only two wins will be good enough. But we expected that, because in these situations you cannot rely on other teams to do you any favours. Yes, it would have been nice if there were more teams we could catch. But it is still in our hands. If we get all six points we are guaranteed to stay up and that is a great motivation. We go into every season knowing how difficult it will be to stay up. We were in the same position two seasons ago and got the six points we needed. Mentally we are in a good place after beating one of the top teams in Europe. But it’s true everything suggests we don’t have enough time to recover and go to the Emirates to get the points. But we’ve done it before and have the vision of our 1-0 win at the Emirates last year fixed in our minds. We’re excited about trying to do our own double!” – Roberto Martinez.
Roberto Mancini sacked
Mancini sacked! A year after winning the title City fire Italian boss with £7m pay-off… but Barca emerge as rivals for Pellegrini (Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail) Roberto Mancini’s reign as Manchester City manager was ended in brutal fashion last night as he was labelled a failure and sacked a year to the day after he won the Barclays Premier League title. The Italian, who is expected to net a £7million pay-off, was told he was no longer wanted just hours after taking training for City’s match at Reading tonight. City, whose statement bizarrely addressed the need for the club to develop a ‘holistic approach’, have yet to seal the finer points of a deal for Malaga’s Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini. Mancini’s assistant Brian Kidd has been put in charge for the last two games of the season.
You failure: Manchester City sacked Roberto Mancini because he didn’t achieve their targets (David McDonell, Daily Mirror) Roberto Mancini has been sacked and branded a failure by Manchester City – a year to the day after he led them to Premier League glory. City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak confirmed Mancini had been dismissed because he hadn’t achieve the targets demanded of him this season. The Italian had been told to retain the Premier League title and make it to the latter stages of the Champions League, but did not manage either one. Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is poised to succeed Mancini, whose assistant boss Brian Kidd takes charge for City’s final two games of the season. Mancini’s three-and-a-half year reign finally came to an end at 10:30pm on Monday night, just over 48 hours after City’s abject FA Cup Final defeat to Wigan – but he was on his way even before the Wembley debacle.
Roberto Mancini will pay ultimate price for failing to build on Manchester City’s title success (Alan Hansen, Daily Telegraph) Roberto Mancini had a golden opportunity to blow Manchester United out of the water and dominate the Premier League for years and years – but has not done it, and that is why he will be out of a job this week. After winning the league last year it was all there for Mancini to take Manchester City to the next level but he had his chance and, sadly, his dismissal was inevitable when United regained the title. I am a big fan of giving managers a chance and have never advocated sackings but if you are pumping that sort of money into a club, as City have done over the years, you should undoubtedly be going forward. Mancini could have taken it on and on but the way big clubs are run now, if you do not do it the paymasters will not take any prisoners, regardless of what you have achieved in the past.
What will Manuel Pellegrini bring to City?
What Manuel Pellegrini would bring to Manchester City (Michael Cox, Guardian) Manuel Pellegrini is not a system-based manager who sticks to a rigid formation – he’s flexible with his shape, building a side that suits his best attacking talents. At Villarreal he moved between a fluid 4-4-2 and a more dangerous 4-3-1-2 that allowed Juan Román Riquelme to play in his favoured role behind the strikers; at Real Madrid it was either a midfield diamond or a 4-2-3-1; at Málaga his favoured 4-2-3-1 has occasionally given way to more of a 4-4-2. The task at Manchester City is supposedly to build a side in a 4-3-3 in line with the wishes of the sporting director, Txiki Begiristain. Pellegrini has limited experience with that formation, but his flexibility suggests it would not be a problem from his point of view. Instead, the issue would be with the squad, as Roberto Mancini has built a side based around packing the centre of the pitch – the Italian has always harboured a distrust of wingers, and City’s narrowness was obvious in the 1-0 FA Cup final defeat to Wigan on Saturday.
Manuel Pellegrini must shed scars of Real Madrid failure if he is to succeed at Manchester City (Pete Jenson, Daily Telegraph) Pellegrini said on Sunday: “I deny here and now being the new coach of Manchester City, I haven’t signed any agreement with anybody. I’ve been fortunate enough, and very proud, that every year the big clubs have shown an interest in me. “I have an agreement with Malaga not to talk to anyone and nothing has been agreed with any other club. I hope in the coming weeks that things will become a little clearer what is going to be the future here at this club.” That picture should become clearer in days rather than weeks.
Manchester City are making the right move replacing Roberto Mancini with Manuel Pellegrini (Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph) Mancini has been fortunate that two of the players he has treated unfairly, Joe Hart through nit-picking word and Joleon Lescott through team-picking deed, are too professional to make a public fuss. They accepted their manager’s comments and decisions and stayed focused. Of Pellegrini’s assorted strengths is an ability to unite a squad, to communicate. City fans should thank Mancini for the memories and trophies and then give Pellegrini a chance.
The Moyes-Rooney showdown
‘World’s best’ Rooney heads for showdown with new boss as Moyes says he’s matured since dealing with Gazza (Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail) Wayne Rooney is expected to meet David Moyes for talks over his future as early as next week — and last night Manchester United’s new manager described the striker as ‘one of the best players in the world’. Rooney’s Old Trafford career is up in the air after he told Sir Alex Ferguson two weeks ago that he would like to leave Old Trafford. Ferguson did not even include Rooney in his squad for Sunday’s victory over Swansea and there had been no thaw in relations yesterday judging by the body language at the open-top bus parade to celebrate United’s championship success.
David Moyes hints ‘world-class’ Wayne Rooney has Manchester United future (Jamie Jackson, Guardian) David Moyes gave the first indication on Monday night that he may like to keep Wayne Rooney at Manchester United when he described the striker as “one of the best players in the world”. Moyes, addressing the subject for the first time since he agreed to take over as manager at Old Trafford, is expected to meet Rooney next week for discussions that may lead to the England international staying at the club. Rooney, who was again booed by some fans during Monday’s trophy parade, has been locked in a stalemate with United since, according to Sir Alex Ferguson, he asked for a transfer last month.
David Moyes offers unsettled striker Wayne Rooney way back at Manchester United following transfer request (Daily Telegraph) New Manchester United manager David Moyes has extended the olive branch to unsettled striker Wayne Rooney by lavishing praise on his former Everton player, describing him as “an exceptional talent” and “the last of the classic street footballers”.
The England international handed in a transfer request earlier this month over what appeared to be a deteriorating relationship with outgoing manager Sir Alex Ferguson. But since Ferguson made the surprise decision last week to stand down from his post when the season ends next Sunday, Rooney is now said to be open-minded about staying at the club. On Monday the indications were that Moyes is ready to talk him around. Moyes is likely to meet Rooney at some stage next week in order to clarify the player’s position and that of the club.
Manchester United target Phil Jagielka
Jagielka is a £10m target for Man Utd (Andre Dillon, Sun) Phil Jagielka is a £10million target for new Manchester United boss David Moyes. The England centre-half is the THIRD Everton player on Moyes’ wishlist, along with Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines. Moyes, who will leave Everton for Old Trafford at the end of the season, signed Jagielka for £4m from Sheffield United six years ago. An Everton insider said: “David loves Jags from top to bottom. He describes him as ‘absolute class’.
Wilshere set for another operation
Pins and needles: Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere needs new ankle operation and may not play again until next season (John Cross, Daily Mirror) Arsene Wenger has confirmed Jack Wilshere needs ANOTHER operation at the end of the season. Arsenal playmaker Wilshere has been taking pain-killers to help him get through games and Wenger will only use him in the final two games if it is really necessary, even as the Gunners battle arch-rivals Tottenham for a Champions League place. Wilshere is likely to only be on the bench against Wigan on Tuesday night, and is set to miss England’s end-of-season friendlies against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley and Brazil. That will be a major blow for England boss Roy Hodgson, who names his squad on Thursday and wanted Wilshere to be involved. Wilshere will go under the knife to remove a metal pin used to provide support to his right foot after a stress-fracture injury kept him out for 17 months and threatened his career.
Arsenal bag La Liga bonus
It’s Ars£n£ Wonga (Charlie Wyett, Sun) Arsenal have pocketed a £3million-plus bonus for Barcelona winning the Spanish title and Hull getting promoted. And tonight, Arsene Wenger’s side bid to take a massive step towards another season of Champions League riches by relegating Wigan. Barca will pay an extra £3m as part of the deals which took Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song to the Nou Camp in 2011 and 2012. Promotion to the Premier League will see Hull shell out £250,000 due to a clause in a deal that took Jay Simpson to the KC Stadium in 2010. And reaching the Champions League again will add at least another £10m to the coffers — with even more for making the knockout stages.
PSG reject Real Madrid bid for Carlo Ancelotti
PSG reject approach from Real Madrid for Carlo Ancelotti (Reuters) Paris Saint-Germain have rejected an approach from Real Madrid for their coach Carlo Ancelotti, the club president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, said on Monday. “They [Madrid] came and I discussed it with them,” Khelaifi said. “He’s got a contract with us for one more year … for me, he’s here next year. He’s a fantastic guy and I’m sure he’ll respect his contract.” Ancelotti refused to confirm he would stay at PSG on Sunday after they secured their first Ligue 1 title since 1994. “We are going to talk with the club,” said the Italian, who joined the team in December 2011.
Borussia Dortmund want Benteke
Borussia-bound Benteke? Dortmund line up Villa striker as Lewandowski replacement (Simon Jones, Mail on Sunday) Christian Benteke has emerged as Borussia Dortmund’s top target to replace Robert Lewandowski, in a shock development that will cast a shadow over Aston Villa’s Barclays Premier League survival bid. Sportsmail can reveal that Dortmund’s chief transfer negotiator made a personal check on Benteke against Chelsea and returned to Germany convinced the 22-year old has what it takes to lead their attack next season. Benteke was sent off in Chelsea’s 2-1 win, but Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc was more interested in the way he gave Villa an early lead.
Frank Lampard set to start v Benfica
Up for the cup: Chelsea injuries mean Frank Lampard is to start Europa League Final after all (Martin Lipton, Daily Mirror) Chelsea hero Frank Lampard is set for a Europa League Final reprieve. Less than a week after the Blues’ manager Rafa Benitez hinted he was planning to leave both Lampard and fellow icon John Terry out of the side to play Benfica in Amsterdam, the Spaniard has been forced into a change of heart. Benitez is set to confirm that neither Eden Hazard nor Terry will be fit to take on the Portuguese giants after picking up injuries in Saturday’s win at Aston Villa. With John Obi Mikel still not fit enough to start after missing the last six games, Lampard is now poised to lead the Blues into battle from the heart of the midfield. Benitez is concerned over the form of Gary Cahill and is understood to be planning to drop David Luiz back into the centre of the defence alongside Branislav Ivanovic. That will leave a huge hole in the centre of the pitch, and while playing Ramires on the right of the trio behind striker Fernando Torres has been considered, the Brazilian – sent off at Villa – has been pencilled in to his more normal role.