Past achievements may not be enough to keep Mancini and Adkins in their jobs
Patience with Mancini would then be tested. The question is whether, even now, City’s rulers have lost belief or merely begun to doubt. It is nigh-on impossible to have patience with something you don’t believe; it is possible, in fact essential, to have patience with something you do believe, but momentarily doubt.
This is where Mancini’s and Adkins’s path may diverge.
Those who defend Adkins point out that City are only one of seven of the current top nine whom Southampton have so far faced. After today against Swansea, it’s QPR away, then Newcastle and Norwich at home. By the end of the month, Adkins may be deemed to have soothed doubts and galvanised Southampton.
Some of us thought he had already done the latter. This weekend two years ago Saints were losing at Carlisle in League One and the Championship looked a fantasy, never mind the Premier League.
Adkins drove them upwards.
Now it is about acclimatising to the Premier League. True, Southampton have spent money – around £12 million on Gaston Ramirez alone – but have four points from 10 games and have conceded 28 times.
Yet had they not gone up last season and, say, sat second in the Championship now, Adkins would be hailed for his management. Steady growth, patience - that would be the mantra.
It could be argued that Adkins and his club went too far, too fast. In Champions League terms it’s the opposite for Mancini and City. They’ve not gone far enough, fast enough.
In both instances patience is a victim, along with, quite possibly, managers Roberto Mancini and Nigel Adkins.
McGuinness times it well: Celtic on a high
Jim McGuinness has chosen a good week to join Celtic. The club could scarcely be happier. Wednesday night’s amazing 2-1 victory over Barcelona at Celtic Park has warranted all the bouquets that have been thrown towards Neil Lennon and Co in the days since.
In a purely sporting context, Celtic have put themselves in a strong position in Champions League Group G, second behind Barca and three points ahead of Benfica. They face a trip to Lisbon next and if Celtic win there, they are through to the last 16.
But even a draw would make qualification hard for Benfica. Celtic have then a final game, at home to Spartak Moscow in December, a team they beat in Russia.
That 2-3 result in early October seems a long time ago. It raised eyebrows both in Glasgow and beyond, but what Celtic did in Glasgow on Wednesday caused an altogether greater response.
On a night when both Chelsea and Manchester United won in fairly dramatic circumstances, Celtic still led the news south of the border.
Lennon’s men captured the imagination far away from Parkhead and while that may fade and prove to have no tangible effect, Celtic’s strategic thinkers may muse otherwise.
What took Barcelona aback, said their players, was the volume at Parkhead; what might take Celtic aback is the volume of goodwill that has patted them from outside Scotland.