When it comes to premier league bulls**t, you don’t need to look much further than the English Premier League. As the season draws towards its close on the 11th May, it is clear that the air inside the bubble of unreality that those involved in this over-hyped circus exist in gets more intoxicating for the inmates. You want bulls**t? Grab a shovel, because there is plenty of it about this time of year.

Following their disappointing 2-2 draw with bottom of the league Sunderland, Manchester City manager Manuel Pelligrini is quoted as saying that his team are ‘mentally tired’:  “I think more mentally tired than physically tired. Mentally it was very difficult to play this game after Liverpool [last Sunday]”

Manchester City have been at or near the top of the league all season. Sunderland now sit at the bottom of the table, several points adrift of ‘safety’. Both teams have played 33 league games this season. Both teams lost last weekend. Can anyone on the face of God’s green Earth tell me why Manchester City should be any more mentally tired than Sunderland? Why would disappointment at losing last weekend be any more mentally draining for a team who,whatever else happens this season, will at least be playing Premier League football next season, while the other will probably be making trips to places like Bournemouth and Brentford?

No, folks. Pelligrini’s statement is just the kind of fantasyland crap that only those who are willing to shell out £50 for a shirt that costs around £1.75 to manufacture could possibly swallow.What in God’s name have they done to become ‘mentally tired’? Played several rubbers of chess with Anatoly Karpov? Written a ground breaking thesis on string theory? Frankly, most of them would probably get mentally tired watching a whole episode of Thomas the Tank Engine.  

Even if Pelligrini’s claim held a droplet of truth, you would still raise your eyebrows. Only a couple of days ago, a study carried out by the Sporting Intelligence [yes, seriously] website revealed that Manchester City were the most highly-paid athletes in global sport. Apparently, the average annual salary of a Manchester City footballer is £5.3 million. That’s what you can afford when you are backed by oil. What a shame they aren’t also backed by some intelligence, too. 

What Manchester City either couldn’t afford, or more likely couldn’t care less about if Pelligrini’s cobblers were true, was a suitable process for ensuring that the players that they bought and put on salaries like that were mentally fit enough to do the job they are being paid for. I mean, what employer who has just forked out over £55 million in salaries for his employees to do a job which needed to be done by a particular date would be happy if the line manager came along at the most crucial moment in the production process and said ‘Sorry, the workers can’t get the order out, they’re feeling mentally tired.’? Let’s face it, these people run around for ninety minutes, once or twice a week, trying to kick a leather bag into a fishing net supported on a rectangular frame. How mentally tiring can that be? And if it is, well, spend a few quid on bringing in a suitable mental health expert to get to the bottom of the malaise. 

If this is an excuse, it is crap. If it is true, a lot of people ought to be sacked, starting with the man who picks these crocks. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and lie down. I am feeling a little mentally tired.

 

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