Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Ballistic Holistic ; Mike Keegan on Why Blues Are Playing with a Smile on Their Faces Keegan Mike Faces Their on Smile a with Playing Are Blues Why On

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Ballistic Holistic ; Mike Keegan on Why Blues Are Playing with a Smile on Their Faces Keegan Mike Faces Their on Smile a with Playing Are Blues Why On

Article excerpt

IT was the word that triggered sniggers on sportsdesks around the country. But eight months after City announced that the successor to Roberto Mancini would bring a 'holistic' approach to the club, the only people laughing are the fans, the players - and no doubt the Blues' battle-hardened officials.

At the time many had to thumb through a dictionary to find out what it meant.

Even after doing that, some were still not sure.

But Manuel Pellegrini has delivered his own definition of 'holistic' for the nation to see.

It involves a club singing from the same hymn sheet, a team that plays with a smile on its face and a refreshing approach to football that is at odds with what the tabloids would have you believe.

City's decision to go ballistic for holistic will have stemmed not only from the scars of Mancini's divisive administration but from Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain's time at blueprint Barcelona. Club staff are wary of harking back to the Italian's turbulent tenure. It was not all tears and tantrums and nobody will forget his part in the Blues revival and the glorious ending of the trophy drought.

But it is impossible not to note the differences. Whereas assistant David Platt was often used as a go-between, the amiable Chilean's door is always open.

The new faces that have arrived have also lifted spirits. One source, in typically Mancunian fashion, described Alvaro Negredo, (below) Fernandinho and Co. as 'good lads'.

Many may not have seen it, but a glimpse into the new spirit of harmony was provided at the Etihad in the second half of Wednesday's Capital One Cup cakewalk against West Ham.

Negredo, having bagged a brilliant hat-trick, was summoned to the bench to be replaced by Aleksandar Kolarov. Such a move may have prompted a dummy spit from previous centre fowards.

The Hammers, as poor a side as the Blues will face this season, were not so much on the ropes but lying prostrate in the first row of the ringside seats and chances to score four, five and maybe even six would certainly have come Negredo's way.

But the Beast was happy to leave the feast. He embraced his replacement and shook the hand of every member of the bench. …

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