City must learn to ignore “negative” criticism

by admin

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

A murmur went around Anfield as the team sheets were read out.  Not content with arriving at the ground just an hour before kick-off, Manchester City surprised most when it was revealed they would play two strikers in a fairly standard 4-4-2.

Now Mancini has garnered himself quite a reputation since he came into English football, namely as a defensively minded worrier. The Italian has more substance to him than that, but the over-riding feeling associated with the former Inter Milan manager is one of negativity.

So he must be applauded for adopting the more attacking system he adopted for the live football game against Liverpool. But he got it wrong.

Very rarely, if ever will Mancini travel away from home with anything less than two sitting midfielders. But that it just what he did when he took his team to Liverpool, and he walked away with nothing expect for a bloodied nose. With Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure in the middle his midfield didn’t exactly represent a diamond shape, but Toure does rove forward and occupy attacking positions, leaving Barry to do the cleaning up.

Whilst the right intent, City found themselves on the backfoot as a sprightly Liverpool quickly launched attacks that took Toure and City’s attacking front line out of the game, something which in part was down to the threat of Luis Suarez.

While it was his strike partner Andy Carroll who walked away with the match ball, it was the Uruguayan who deserved his fair share of the plaudits for being a constant thorn in the side of the Man City defence. Playing constantly on (and frustratingly beyond at times) the shoulder of the last defender, giving Liverpool a focal point for their quick breaks.

With Suarez and his breathless runs a constant threat, not to mention his work down the channels, Liverpool had an outlet to play a long ball to which would stretch and at times bypass City, and if all else failed they used Carroll to hold up the ball well if the break wasn’t on.

It is still too early to tell, but Suarez and Carroll look the perfect fit for the Liverpool archetype of the little and big man up top.

City meanwhile will be left to count the cost of a particularly damaging night. If Carlos Tevez’s  hamstring injury wasn’t enough, the site of James Milner shaking his head as trudged off the pitch after being substituted will have done little to inspire confidence in Mancini’s leadership skills.

At times his choices were baffling. The decision to bring the petulant Balotelli on with David Silva warming the bench, when Edin Dzeko offers a physical enough presence to lead the line on his own. Introducing the defensive wall that is Nigel De Jong when the game was gone. Cryptically accepting blame for the defeat but failing to elaborate afterwards.

Mancini is a man under pressure, and will revert to his favoured formation for the semi-final against Manchester United this weekend. If he cannot guide his side to victory there, he may well find himself in a very difficult position. He has backed himself into a corner with his bold post-game comments, and must now show he can marshal an undoubtedly talented team to success.

City hold on to their Champions League spot for the time being, but they would do well to remember what got them there in the first place, and ignore the jibes that come their way.


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  • Happy To Be Blue

    Absolutely agree. Thyis is the best Man City manager for years. I can’t believe people can’t see that. He’ll bring success and, I’m sure, eventually a better style of football. But, in the short term, he needs the Top 4 and I think he should use what he believes to be the most effective way of getting there.

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