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Can Mancini handle the pressure?

When Manchester City failed to progress from their group in their maiden Champions League campaign last season, a lot of people simply put it down to inexperience, despite the multi-million pound squad at their disposal.  Their current team is even stronger, with an extra year for players to gel combined with the addition of a few more quality signings.  Yet, they continue to struggle.

Whilst they still went on to win the title last season, an early exit from the Champions League this time around could seriously affect City’s whole structure.  Potential signings will look at the position of the club in January and, if the ability to compete in Europe’s premier cup competition is not available, players may look elsewhere.  That’s not to mention some of the current squad, who, if City are not challenging on at least one front, may question the direction the club is heading.

The owners would certainly not be happy with this scenario, which would place even more pressure on the shoulders of Roberto Mancini.  However, some of the recent actions of the Italian would suggest that all is not well behind the scenes.  Recent revelations that he had been in contact regarding the managerial position at other European clubs did not exactly make City fans feel secure about the man in charge of their own.  This lack of confidence in Mancini could eventually disrupt the dressing room.  If things do take a turn for the worse, somebody has to take the blame.

Although he has never seemed calm, the Italian manager has appeared a bit more frantic in press conferences since guiding the club to their first Premier League title.  It could be said that last season’s success has affected him mentally; the sense of power that came with lifting the trophy has pushed him to the limit.  Mancini may have won the battle of mind games with Sir Alex Ferguson once, but can he do it again?  Or he will he be driven to near insanity and suddenly snap, similarly to Rafael Benitez’s rant against him during the Spanish manager’s time at Anfield.

Having recently committed to the club for another five years, are the expectations on City too much for Mancini to handle?