Time is of the essence

Critics of Roberto Mancini would do well to examine why his counterpart at United has done so well.

Don't you think it's hilarious how the media have turned on Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager? At first, the coverage was all about the suave good looks and trendy scarf. Now he's a negative boss whose players can't stand him. I'm guessing he's getting well paid, because for now he's earning every penny.

We're led to believe that Craig Bellamy's unhappy - not for the first time - his training's rotten and they're out of the FA Cup because, apparently, Mancini has the tactical nous of a brick. The poor guy has only been there 10 minutes and even though they're knocking on the door of fourth place, Eastlands doesn't seem a happy place. How can you build a team in three months? Mark Hughes didn't have enough time to mould a side with all the new players they signed, so what hope has Mancini?

Somehow you get the feeling today's game at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea could well define their stuttering season. Win and Mancini's there for the long haul. Lose and the snipers will have open season. It's at times like this you have to look across the city to Old Trafford and at Manchester United. The most successful club in the country with the most successful manager and who has been there longer than anyone else. They say you don't get time in modern football, but surely, as Sir Alex Ferguson has ably demonstrated, time is the most significant factor of all.

I had a car crash this week when a bloke just stuck his foot on the accelerator and rammed into the back of my car when we were stuck in a jam. I was taking the kids to school, but it wasn't the fact they were shocked, the fact they were then late, or the fact that we had to wait ages for the police to come which got me down.

None of that bothered me, instead I told the other driver he owed me big time because my wife could now say I had crashed the car. I don't know about your household, but we have all given my wife loads of grief in these past three years after she crashed our car inot a wall. Whenever there's a family row, usually the wall gets a mention. I was so surprised when I got home the other day, because she never mentioned the crash at all. As I got my kit together to leave for work in the evening, I shouted a general farewell, until she called me back. "What?" I asked. "Don't crash the car please." I was gutted. It's definitely payback time.

Am I the only person on the planet to wonder if Cheryl Cole might be a pain in the neck to live with? I mean, maybe she nags poor Ashley Cole, the Chelsea full-back, to death or picks her toe nails during the English soap opera Eastenders. Maybe she's got smelly breath and is a bit suspect on the old personal hygiene.

Maybe the United Kingdom's darling actually screams and goes mad if he forgets to record Coronation Street, the country's other favourite soap opera. Look, I'm sure she's as perfect as Mary Poppins and her breath smells of roses but I'm sick of the tabloid caricatures of "she's really lovely" and "he's really horrible". If Ashley has made a mess of the whole thing then so be it, but maybe he's glad to be out of the whole media picture. Don't know. Don't care. It's his business and hers. Can't we just leave them to it? @Email:sports@thenational.ae