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Friday 27 July 2012

Mancini hails competitive Barclays Premier League

Manchester City manager lauds the unpredictability of the English top flight

Roberto Mancini guided Manchester City to the Barclays Premier League title in 2011/12 (Credit: Sharon Latham/Manchester City)

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes that the unpredictability of the Barclays Premier League and the loyalty of its supporters are what sets it apart from the rest.

"Everyone knows that the Premier League is among the most competitive in the world," he said. "That's why attendances are so healthy."

Mancini guided his side to the most dramatic finale in the history of the Barclays Premier League by virtue of two last-gasp goals in a 3-2 victory against Queens Park Rangers.

For Man City fans it was a victory embellished by the fact that it both ended a 44-year wait for a title and wrested it away from city rivals Manchester United.

"The fierce competition in the Barclays Premier League is why English football is so compelling"
- Roberto Mancini

It was the narrowest margin of success, which, in Mancini's view, brought into sharp relief the true strength of England's foremost division.

"I think it is probably true to say that in the 20 years of its existence the Premier League has never had a season like the one that has just gone," said Mancini, in his foreword to the Premier League 2011/12 Season Review.

"It wasn't just the crazy way we won the title but the fact that coming into the final weekend of the season there were still relegation issues and Champions League places that were not decided.

"The fierce competition from top to bottom in the Barclays Premier League is why English football is so compelling and why for any player or manager having a winner's medal is so very special."

Unpredictability

With the outcome of every match so difficult to predict, interest levels remain high and this, according to the 47-year-old, is what keeps spectators flooding through the turnstiles.

"No game is easy," he added. "No opposition can be disregarded at any time. Although there was a big points gap between City and Manchester United and the rest of the league, everyone knows that the Premier League is among the most competitive in the world.

The Barclays Premier League is terrific box office
- Roberto Mancini

"That's why attendances are so healthy. The Barclays Premier League is terrific box office. Every week thousands of fans travel the country supporting their teams.

"They do this no matter where the team is in the table or at what stage of the season. You do not get this in other countries.

"For us at Manchester City the 2011/12 title win was truly historic and we dedicate it to our fantastic fans, many of whom were not born or who were very young when their favourites were last champions of England.

"Although we had won The FA Cup and League Cup in between – and even a European Cup Winners' Cup – we had not been English champions for 44 years before last season.

Popular victory

"I think for that fact alone, most neutral fans were perhaps cheering us to victory in that last day and that is why it was such a joyous occasion for our supporters who I am sure will never forget the dramatic last minute goal from Sergio Aguero against Queens Park Rangers.

"New heroes were forged last season and it was a triumph made all the more sweet by the fact that we pipped a club of the stature of United.

"They are a great club and to beat them when they have scored one of their best points totals is a great achievement. I am sure they will come back strongly next season."

"Financial sustainability is a core tenet of the owners' ambition
- Roberto Mancini

City also intend to flourish off the field with their commitment to grassroots football. Their Academy and community work is central to their plans for the future.

"Manchester City will never lose its soul while the current supportive owners are in charge and our plans to help regenerate the area around our stadium to the benefit of the community support that principle.

"Financial sustainability is a core tenet of the owners' ambition for the football club and we are investing heavily in our Academy both in terms of facilities and coaching programmes.

"It is important to the game in this country and all over the world for clubs to make sure young players are well looked after, well coached and well educated.

City pride

"We pride ourselves at Manchester City that we have produced many Premier League and international footballers through our Academy and that many more have gone on to have a career in the Football League too.

"Our job in the future is to ensure that commitment to youth and our community continues. More immediately our job this coming season is to defend the title using hard work, attention to detail, and the enthusiasm for everything that we do.

"Our job is to ensure our commitment to youth and our community continues"
- Roberto Mancini

By doing this we can stay ahead of our challengers. They won't go away. I expect Arsenal, the European champions Chelsea, and Tottenham to improve again next season.

"Liverpool has a new manager and ambition and United amassed the same number of points as us last season. Sir Alex has already stated that they relish the challenge we have given them."

This is an abridged version of Roberto Mancini’s foreword to the Premier League 2011/12 Season Review.

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Key Points

  • Roberto Mancini reflects on 'special' season
  • 'No opposition can be disregarded at any time' says Italian
  • The 47-year-old highlights City's community commitment