Astute observer of the baseball universe that he is, Charlie Manuel has noticed something about leadership -- or the lack thereof.

From 2007 to 2011, when that Phillies team of his was averaging nearly 95 wins a year and outwinning every team in baseball not known as the Yankees, you never read “leadership void” and “Phillies” in the same sentence.

Funny thing about that.

But drop an unpleasant little 81-81 bomb on the franchise, and kaboom. Instant leadership void.

Funny thing about that too.

Whatever it was that Jonathan Papelbon saw last year that caused him to spew the other day, to the Allentown Morning Call, about the Phillies’ lack of leadership, what the manager saw was a team that was in disarray on the field, not off it.

And that, Manuel said Saturday, was his problem, not a problem his “leaders” didn’t step up to deal with.

“I’ve always said this,” Manuel said before his team’s spring training opener with the Houston Astros. “I think of myself as the manager, and I’m definitely the leader of our team. And I think there are two things that are being said here.