Etihad Stadium winger not a happy man.
Roberto Mancini faces yet more player unrest after it was reported that Adam Johnson initially refused to board the team bus after the Carling Cup victory at Molineux last Wednesday night. The winger was said to be angered by the Italian’s public criticism, especially after a game in which he scored one goal and created another for Samir Nasri.
The 24-year-old was eventually persuaded on to the coach but, following the Carlos Tevez affair, the incident has further highlighted the problems Mancini faces in keeping his expensively assembled squad happy.
The City manager, however, said that he will not hold back from criticising the winger because he thinks the comments will make him a better player in the long run. In a post-match interview on Wednesday Mancini said that, even though City were leading Wolves 5-1, Johnson should have tracked back to stop Stephen Ward providing the assist for Jamie O’Hara. Mancini said he was “disappointed he doesn’t put everything on to the pitch”.
“I am happy he is upset,” said Mancini. “I love Adam. It is like with the children in your family. If you love your children, then sometimes you should be hard with them and Adam understands this. I say what I want because, if he were not a good player, then I wouldn’t waste my time on him. But because he has everything, I don’t want him stopping at this level. I want him up a level and then a level more.
Mancini had said after the Wolves match “Sometimes players like Adam play very well in one game but only so-so the next. He should not think: ‘I have scored a goal, this is enough.’
“He has played in the Premier League for two and a half seasons now and he has played for the national team. Fabio Capello and I are of the same opinion. A player like him should play well every game, like David Silva.”
One has to wonder if the problems Man City has had with a number of players is either a result of the amount of top players at the club who simply can’t get a game or symptomatic of the types of players the club attracts due to their limitless wealth and ability to offer mega salaries.
Perhaps Roberto Mancini rubs people up the wrong way? The Italian has ‘had words’ with a number of players since his arrival at the club a couple of years ago and with Adam Johnson in the past. The former Middlesbrough winger is clearly unhappy at not getting a regular game and that’s understandable but given City’s success of late, it hardly seems like the manager is making the wrong decisions.
The likes of Chelsea and Liverpool have been strongly linked with the 24 year old who may feel that his lack of first team opportunities is holding back his career progression not just at club level but on the national team stage as well.