Mario too manic even for Fergie
Published 22:30 14/04/12 By Derick Allsop
Sir Alex Ferguson’s man-management is unrivalled in football – but even he wouldn’t take on Mario Balotelli.
That is the frank verdict of former Manchester United and England Captain Marvel, Bryan Robson.
Balotelli’s catalogue of crazy antics on and off the pitch have undermined Manchester City’s title challenge and reduced manager Roberto Mancini (below) to despair.
Many thought Ferguson was signing up to trouble when he bought Eric Cantona, yet he got the best out of the enigmatic Frenchman and it proved an inspired move.
But Robson said: “If anybody could handle Balotelli, probably Fergie would be one of the best to be able to.
“But, because of Balotelli’s record, I don’t think the gaffer would even try to.
“I’m not saying the gaffer couldn’t handle Balotelli. You never know until you have a player.
“But I hear he was sold to City because Inter Milan couldn’t handle him. He was trouble, a problem.
“Sometimes you take a calculated risk on top players because you want top players and there might not be anybody else available and you think if you can handle him in the right way he might be just right for your club. Fergie is probably the best at man-management.
“He knows when to have a go, when to back off, when to protect his players in the press, when to hammer them in the press.
“He’s an expert. You’d think he was a psychologist the way he handles that side of the job. He’s still got it and thinks about it all the time.
“Over the years, he’s handled all these situations.
“He knew how to get the best out of Cantona and you saw how he handled Wayne Rooney when he left Wayne out of the Blackburn match at Old Trafford because he’d been out and his training wasn’t good.
“The gaffer wasn’t having that, even though he was near enough putting out a reserve team because he’d got so many players missing, and they’d lose three points.
“He’ll make the point to the players that we don’t stand for that at Manchester United.”