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Thursday 8 December 2016

John Giles: Mistake for City to try and copy Barcelona

Club owners picked the wrong formula when they splashed cash at the Etihad​

Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini
Luis Enrique

IF there is one conclusion to be reached from Manchester City's current troubles it is a simple one. Trying to install Barcelona Mark II at the Etihad hasn't worked.

It was a foolish attempt on so many levels and the recruitment of Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain was right at the top of the list of mistakes.

In trying to emulate Barcelona, they have ended up much more like Real Madrid. In fact you could say that Manchester City have ended up with the negative aspects of both clubs.

Manuel Pellegrini is dealing with the same kind of dressing room undercurrent which Roberto Mancini was stuck with and which so often rears its head at Real Madrid.

The two men Pep Guardiola couldn't wait to see the back of, Soriano and Begiristain, are the men the club's fans have identified as the main problem.

If you read speculation coming out of Manchester this week, they are the ones most likely to suffer rather than Pellegrini for a season which is going downhill rapidly.

As is so often the case, a good win in a big derby game can work wonders but I'm not so sure Pellegini is safe, even if he can find a way to beat a resurgent Manchester United on Sunday at Old Trafford.

dominant

I don't think he will. It seems to me that once again, the model in use at Old Trafford will prove the dominant one in an immediate sense and over the long haul.

I wonder will the penny drop for Sheikh Mansour? Will he recognise that the Glazer family have trusted the instincts which told them to leave Alex Ferguson alone and within reason, give him any money he asked for by hiring another man, Louis van Gall, who will only do things his own way?

I believe they saw David Moyes as a man who could settle in for a another long run but he was lost in the transition which happened after Ferguson left.

Van Gaal is cut from the same cloth as Ferguson and I note that he has cancelled the tour Manchester United had planned for the summer.

He can do that because he has the confidence to walk if the Glazers or marketing men in the Plc resist his wishes. Everyone at Old Trafford knows that van Gaal would walk in an eye blink if he thought his authority was being undermined.

Everyone also knows that only players van Gaal really wants will by bought this summer and that nobody will interfere with that process.

With Pellegini, I don't know what would happen if Soriano and Begiristain were told to hit the road. In all likelihood, Manchester City would hire a few more men in suits to insert between themselves and the manager.

I sense a bit of class about the Mansour family, however, and they obviously know about money. If they are really smart they will admit to themselves that they picked the wrong model when they aimed for Barcelona.

Guardiola's Barcelona was largely created from within and while Manchester City appear to have invested heavily in their academy facilities, there's no sign of any end product from that source yet.

So the huge cash which was invested initially to bring Manchester City up to Champions League standard will not be enough to keep them there nor indeed to make the leap they need to reach the final or win it.

More will have to be spent and no matter how much is spent, the squad will have no stability unless the man running the team gets to choose the players he wants to work with. This is why I think Manchester City have ended up much more like Real Madrid than Barcelona.

But again, Real Madrid is unique, governed by politics and voting and works in cycles. They can throw hundreds of millions at the market and managers are expected to stitch it all together and make the current President look good.

Carlo Ancelotti is an excellent manager and clearly, an excellent politician but I'm certain that he has no expectation of hanging around the Bernabeu for too long.

It is no surprise that Jose Mourinho's time at club was noisy and difficult. If he is nothing else he is a man who believes that only he should be in control and that could never work in Madrid.

In an ideal world and if they inserted a gagging clause in his contract which forces him to talk in bland clichés when he meets the media, Manchester City should hire Mourinho and give him ten years to make the club great.

Mourinho would do it, I have no doubt about that. Give him a few years with the right environment and he will win trophies. Give him plenty of money and he will win a lot of trophies, including the Champions League.

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