Many have said that it started to go wrong in the summer transfer window. No marquee signings. Failure to strengthen the squad. It's a strong argument, put forward by many, including conveniently, Mancini himself, but I'm not totally convinced by it myself. I think it's an excuse to cover up an alarming lack of professionalism throughout the club.
Let me explain. Firstly, we were the league's highest scorers in our title winning season so with four exciting top class strikers on the books in August we were looking good in that department. It wasn't broke so why fix it? Nobody could really envisage that collectively our previously free scoring strikers would be such a big disappointment this time out.
The defence was the area that clearly needed attention and we brought in the excellent Nastasic. A big improvement on Lescott. Result? We are currently the best defensive team in the league with two games to go.
In midfield we brought in a fine young player in Jack Rodwell and if he hadn't been so unlucky with injuries he might have had a great season and made a significant difference to our fortunes. We also brought in Garcia who I think is actually a better player than people give him credit for, but he found it hard to adjust to the Premier League and has been on the fringes of the first team. That's again just something you can't forsee.
Sinclair was a strange purchase. I feel a bit sorry for this lad. He's a nippy winger type, but Mancini doesn't play with nippy wingers, so he hasn't had a look in. If we do get another manager in who likes his style we may yet see the best of him.
No, on the whole I don't think our transfer dealings were as bad as has been made out.
And I'll make two other points about this. Firstly Chelsea had the kind of window that would have had us drooling. But they will finish below us. And secondly, their wild spending may well come back and bite them on the bum if the fair play thing really does kick in, whereas I think we had one eye on that situation and our relative prudence may well prove to be very wise indeed.
So what really did go wrong with our season? Why did a very ordinary rags squad race away with our title? Well I think the Cup Final said it all for me. Motivation and the will to win. In many games this season it just wasn't there. The opposition wanted it more than us. And that is unacceptable. United players never stop. They sweat blood for the team. They are relentless. Joe Hart called them a killing machine and he's right. But apart from Van Persie they didn't strengthen much in the summer. Many will disagree with this but I believe United would have won the league this season even without the signing of Van Persie. Somebody else would have scored the goals. They were so highly motivated and determined to grind out results. And we weren't.
So what or who was to blame for the shameful lack of guts shown in certain games including, disgracefully a cup final! Is it the players themselves who have the skill, but the wrong mindset? Are they good enough? Are they really overpaid mercenaries who just don't care enough?
Or is it the manager who lacks the ability to motivate and get players on his side and get the best out of his team on a regular basis game after game, (preferring instead to criticise them in public on occasions.)
I'll end with another question. If by some chance Ferguson had had the current City squad and Mancini had had the current United crop, Van Persie and all, when it all started last August.....who would have won the league this season?
I know who I think would have won it. And probably by a much greater margin. It would have been all over by Christmas!
I'm very very grateful to Roberto Mancini for winning us the cup and the league, and for that reason i'd stick with him for one more season at least. But this season has been unacceptable because I believe it was nothing to do with the transfer window, for me the players we had in August were more than good enough in terms of quality to retain our title. I just think they weren't motivated enough or professional enough to sustain a very high standard throughout the season.
And I'm afraid that's down to the manager. If he really does want to build a dynasty here, and I'd love to see him do it, he's got to put that right.