Although the English sensibility is naturally miffed at Tevez's tantrum, as they are calling it, who now must be the culprit for Manchester City's misadventure at Bayern Munich, in one sense Tevez was right to refuse to play.
I have had my doubts about Mancini, who seems, at least to me, more of a collector of top-class players than a genuine coach or an effective manager of people. Jerome Boateng is a ready case in point.
Here was a player snagged up by Mancini, fresh off the steaming oven of the 2010 World Cup Finals, a player who emerged with excellent grades from the seven matches Germany played in the competition. Here was pure promise, a diamond, albeit unfinished, but close.
What happened at City and with Mancini? He warmed Manchester City's bench 90 percent of the time.
Here is another example: Adebayor.
Again we have a player many clubs would dream to have as their arrowhead (Tottenham Hotspur appear happy enough with him at the moment, and Real Madrid didn't seem to think badly of him either when they had him last season), and yet, at City, he seemed nothing more than dross to Mancini.
Think of him at Arsenal. Would such a player spend most of his time on the bench? Surely Adam Johnson is one of the best wingers in the Premiership. Yet at City, his potential seems unrecognized.
He is not such a bad player, is he? I'd like to think he'd shine at other clubs, as he may yet at QPR.
Mario Balotelli is another player I cannot see warming the bench at Arsenal, for example. Although in this case, there seems a genuine admiration for the player on the part of Mancini, though this seems only the exception that proves the rule.
Moreover, to have such a talent consistently on the bench only exposes the overabundance of resources at City, a club so rich it may as well burn its money.
Dzeko, Aguero, Balotelli and Tevez, all top-class strikers at one club! Not even Barcelona can boast of such depth. Of the other three, the only one that can give Tevez a run for his money, in my opinion, is Aguero.
But even so, Tevez's achievements must trump Aguero's. Perhaps Aguero may in time surpass Tevez, but at the moment I would vote Tevez as the best of the four strikers, and yet he has been consigned to the bench.
Some would say Tevez has only been served his own medicine, since he is the one that filed the divorce papers against City in the summer. True.
But let such recall that last season, in fact the middle of the season, Tevez had already aired his grievance against Mancini. Let him or her recall that he submitted to the club a letter seeking to 'resign' his services from the club.
Recall that he had more than a few run-ins with Mancini even then. Yet he carried the club on his shoulders, helping them to win the FA cup and to book a place in the UEFA Champions League.
Granted he filed the papers, but since the separation fell through, how does it make sense to frustrate such a player by consigning him to the bench most of the time?
Like him or hate him, there is not a more hard working player than Tevez, who consistently performs at the highest level and is often a match winner, the very reason it seems Mancini sought to bring him on at Bayern.
Tevez's strange behavior seems to me to be a by-product of Saturday's match against Everton. Tevez appeared to have been asked to warm-up in an apparent preparation to be brought on on Saturday. Yet the subs to be called upon were Balotelli, Milner and Savic. The word was that Tevez had fallen down the pecking order of strikers.
It is true that the manager can do whatever he likes. This may well be, but I do not think it is healthy to frustrate players or give little thought to their feelings as persons, which is why I cited the above examples.
Yes, players sign contracts, but managers know that when players are unhappy, the best thing often is to let them go elsewhere.
Dzeko's reaction to being substituted, a mild version of Tevez's reaction, only symptomatizes the problem of collecting assorted stars rather than try to mould or build a team around a core of players.
To have four top-class strikers at the same club, two of whom barely get to play, signifies what is wrong with football clubs at present, where money is spent with little regard to accountability. Even Barcelona, the best club by all accounts last season, did not have such riches at hand.
Don't get me wrong—It is not a bad thing, per se, to have four world-class strikers at the same club if you can keep them all happy. But to keep top-class players (such as Manchester City has) happy requires talent in people management. This I do not believe Mancini possesses.
Jupp Heynckes, Mancini's opposite at this match, rotates his players to keep them happy and seems to have succeeded in nurturing and building morale where Louis Van Gaal failed, who ruled with an iron fist and disregarded the personal feelings of players.
Well may the English be miffed at Tevez's refusal to play at Bayern—-though he has since issued a statement denying this was the case—since he could have perhaps helped City to salvage a point at Munich, although I doubt it.
But when you have a coach who seems interested only in snagging up the latest player some other coach has sweated in moulding, and who seems to give little regard to players' personal growth and happiness, open revolt such as Tevez's (if indeed this was the case) could actually be the tonic that causes change.
After all towing the conventional line or keeping up appearances has seldom given birth to change. City and Mancini must learn that there's more to team-building and coaching than simply amassing collector's items.
Tevez might have just saved them future troubles
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