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Mancini must deliver promises

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Phil McNulty | 23:21 UK time, Monday, 11 April 2011

Anfield

The last manager to sit in what used to be Anfield's famous old bootroom and make a promise he failed to keep paid for it with his job. Manchester City's Roberto Mancini must hope fate can resist the temptation to inflict similar punishment.

Rafael Benitez's inability to deliver his "guarantee" of Champions League football became a suicide note for his Liverpool career - and yet Mancini was in the mood for similarly bold claims despite the catalogue of grim evidence before his eyes on Monday.

Liverpool's fully deserved 3-0 win exposed the problems Mancini faces balancing the egos, talents and fragile temperaments in his squad, which, lest we forget, has been assembled at vast cost.

Throw in an injury to Carlos Tevez that surely rules him out of the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley this weekend, the sight of £25m substitute Mario Balotelli suffering the indignity of being replaced himself and another blank night for £27m Edin Dzeko and this was hardly the foundation stone for assertions that City would qualify for the Champions League and reach the FA Cup final. Mancini made them anyway.

Carroll scored twice to put Liverpool on course for victoryCarroll scored twice to put Liverpool on course for victory. Photo: Getty Images

In his defence, he can hardly be expected to say anything else. He also chose to rest David Silva and Nigel de Jong with Wembley in mind, two players of contrasting qualities that may just have made life a little more uncomfortable for a dominant Liverpool.

It is also worth remembering that City still lie fourth in the Premier League, within touching distance of the Champions League with six matches remaining. Not exactly a parlous position.

Still, it was hardly the time or place to make such bold pledges after arguably the worst 90 minutes of his season.

The reality for the former Inter Milan boss is that he must make good on at least one of his promises if his work and spending this season is not to be subjected to the closest of scrutiny by City's Abu Dhabi rulers.

Failure to achieve one objective might just be excusable. Failure to deliver both may prove terminal to his time at Eastlands.

As for Liverpool, the evening gave their fans renewed hope that they are on the road to recovery after the failures of the Roy Hodgson regime.

Liverpool must be given credit for a thrilling performance, especially an opening 35 minutes that brought Andy Carroll's first goals for the club since his £35m move from Newcastle United and a Dirk Kuyt strike slipped in between.

At times, the home side, seriously weakened by injuries, were irresistible. The pace and power of their start carried such force that City never recovered, so much so that it was 82 minutes before Pepe Reina made a save, a routine stop from Yaya Toure.

And Kenny Dalglish, whose appointment as permanent manager surely moved a significant step closer as City joined Chelsea and Manchester United on his impressive list of victims, was able to revel in the assured displays of local products Jay Spearing and teenage debutant defender John Flanagan as well as his expensive purchases.

For City, there was only bad news. As Wembley preparations go, it could not have been worse as they lost Tevez to a hamstring problem in a confidence-bashing loss.

Mancini, in an act of generosity that spared his players, took responsibility for the result when he said: "I'm disappointed with myself because I made mistakes. This game was my fault. I made mistakes over the last two days but I know why."

And he added: "We did not prepare for this game very well. The fact we arrived late was probably part of the reason. We probably thought that if we played this game less than 100% we could still get a win. But football is not like that. I have learned something about myself. I have a lot of experience, so it was my mistake not the players."

Yaya Toure hangs his head in dismayYaya Toure hangs his head in dismay. Photo: Getty Images

Mancini added to the intrigue by declining to elaborate on his errors. But a major worry is that Balotelli is shaping up to be one of them - and a mighty expensive one at that.

Balotelli's unpredictability means he may yet produce a decisive moment against United at Wembley on Saturday but too often this sullen young man looks like he wants to be anywhere but on a football pitch.

Treading along the margins of the action except to unleash a couple of wild long-range shots, Balotelli suffered what should be one of the worst fates to befall a professional, namely being the substitute who performed so badly he was substituted. He could have no complaints but neither can Mancini because he knew only too well the price on the ticket of this complex young man.

Mancini made no attempt to shield Balotelli either. A shake of the head accompanied by a masterpiece of understatement: "He didn't play well."

In contrast to the danger, industry and commitment of Liverpool's £58m strike force of Carroll and Luis Suarez, City's own £52m pairing of Balotelli and Dzeko cut the palest of comparisons.

Mancini will hope Wembley's stage can provide the spark for both men, especially Dzeko, the giant who arrived with a huge reputation from Wolfsburg.

He looked lost and lightweight at Anfield and, rather ominously, was on the end of some rough treatment from City's fans - the club's outstanding performers by some distance - when he made little more than a token effort to challenge for a cross in the second half.

Mancini's message that City can still make the Champions League and FA Cup final may have been deliberately designed to lift the spirits of his players but such proclamations are remembered, especially if they do not come to pass.

Now he must hope Manchester City's players can turn his words into action.

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Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Get in!! Best 35 mins or so of football I've seen us produce in a while. Long overdue. YNWA!

  • Comment number 2.

    Last night (Henry) Mancini composed Blue Doom - unlike his namesake it will not be a great hit.

  • Comment number 3.

    "The reality for the former Inter Milan boss is that he...."
    Time and time again, do we have to remind readers, fans and most of all, football journalists that the neam of the club is INTER or INTERNAZIONALE. It is not Inter MILAN. There's AC Milan and there's Inter, no Inter Milan. Inter fans do not like this (I am not one of the Inter fans) but it is direspectful generally to a great footballing club.

  • Comment number 4.

    I must admit i didnt see this result coming.
    All hail Spearing, Lucas & Kuyt!
    Wow!

  • Comment number 5.

    Which bits did you write Phil? Is the headline yours :-)

  • Comment number 6.

    Man City, Tottenham, liverpool: one is going in the champions league, one the europa, one will be staying at home. IMHO the one that stays at home could well end up being the winner. Without the extra distraction of countless midweek games they could mount a serious title challenge next season and even win it.

  • Comment number 7.

    The difference between the two strike forces was like chalk and cheese. They have only been playing together for a short while but already they look to be sussing each other out. Next season could be a nightmare for opposition defences once Suarez and Carroll gell properly. Special mention to the good works being done by liver pools academy. Who was responsible for revamping the academy? Only one Rafa Benitez. Thought Flanagan had a great debut on what must have seemed like a daunting prospect at Anfield and next to Carra. All in all a very satisfying evening and long may it continue.

  • Comment number 8.

    Delighted for Liverpool who proved you could produce a top class performance while including a couple of home grown players in their team, which you've got to hope continues (though Suarez at the moment is looking set to be one of the great players to watch in the premiership). Manchester City may have the money but they lack soul and cohesion.

    Wonder whether Senor Mourinho is considering a move from Madrid to Manchester?

  • Comment number 9.

    I don't think Mancini has done anything Mark Hughes wouldn't have done so far. And if Hughes was there, I doubt city would have wasted money on Balotelli and Dzeko and they would have kept Bellamy, who is a much better player than someone like Milner.

    As for last night, as a chelsea fan i was baffled to see Silva on the bench, the guy's class and should be starting those kinds of games.

  • Comment number 10.

    Okay Phil I must admit being thefirst to comment on your articles is something I never thought possible, but here is Liverpool seeming resurgent, City seeming disjointed and Lady Luck seeming asleep for City...
    All sad and tears until I remember I AM a MAN U supporter, and as such, I seem all the happier.

  • Comment number 11.

    Okay - So I was not first! this will be modded out right?

  • Comment number 12.

    Liverpool played a good game yesterday. I also feel that if that Boy Balotelli is to put more effort in being a team player Man City might improve; currently he does not show any desire or will

  • Comment number 13.

    @phenomstruck

    Inaccurate, sure. But how is it disrespectful?

  • Comment number 14.

    The last time City won away from home was boxing day so it was clear it was going to end in a draw or a Liverpool win. What makes it more annoying for me is the amount of times Spurs have dropped points against lesser teams but are only 3 points behind with a game in hand. Just think where they would be if they had beaten Everton. Sunderland, Wigan etc. Spurs may complain about being booed by their own fans but when you see that those lost points would put them in 3rd or 4th, they may come to reget it by the end of the season. I hope not. I would rather see Spurs in the CL than City.

  • Comment number 15.

    @phenomstruck

    What does the M in the badge stand for then? This isn't a sarcastic comment, I'm always up for widening my footy knowledge

  • Comment number 16.

    Only Kompany and Barry can come out of last night's game with any sense of pride. As for Balotelli, where do you start. Grumpy, disaffected, afraid of a challenge, lazy... I can't see him lasting in England for long.City were not up for the game, a beaten team from the very start. They are the best paid players in the league yet seemingly couldn't muster up a 90 minute performance against one of their big rivals. As for Liverpool, maybe the signings of Carroll and Suarez have brought out the best in Kuyt who looked a genuine world class player for perhaps the first time since he arrived at the club. With Gerrard's age and injury problems catching up with him, at least the future doesn't look quite so grim now.

  • Comment number 17.

    @phenomstruck I've only ever met English people trying to be clever who seem to genuinely mind about that common misnomer. Never met an Inter fan who could care less

  • Comment number 18.

    F.C. Internazionale Milano SpA. The full name given by wikipedia

  • Comment number 19.

    @phenomstruck

    Strange how their offical website lists calls themselves 'F.C. Internazionale Milano'.
    Doesn't seem they mind the milan bit at all.

  • Comment number 20.

    I was amazed to find out yesterday that Tevez has been involved (either scoring or as an assist) in 50% of City's goals.

    I thought Dzeko would be dangerous when he came as what I had seen of him (as a Utd fan he battered us) he looked good but he's been disappointing. Might be better next season.

    Always thought Suarez would do well and he has.

    All Kenny has to do is get them playing against the lesser teams and Liverpool will be right back up there

  • Comment number 21.

    A swashbuckling performance by the Reds in front of a capacity and feverous crowd, Dalglish has injected renewed supplies of momentum and belief in Liverpool, their performances are laced with the high-energy industry and invention from Rafael Benitez's high heights at Liverpool. Carroll and Suarez illustrated the piercing difference in Liverpool's frontline and Manchester City's...the desire and motivation to hunt for loose possession or present defenders with constant problems.
    It was good to see a team applying such a ruthless clinical streak to the wonderful passages of play forged throughout the match, in the absence of Steven Gerrard. But Lucas and Spearing underlined flawlessly that they can help the Reds maintain a strong push, and why not with the refound tranquility at the club, no political instability eroding the club's fortunes and with the lavish ability to spend again.

    For Liverpool the must-be-sold players are: Koncheskey (£1-2m), Joe Cole (£8m), Poulsen (£2m) Jovanovic (£4m) and possibly Daniel Agger (£8m) and Maxi Rodriguez (£5m)

    players who should be signed are: Sergio Canales, Bojan, Ashley Young, Sergio Asenjo, Raul Albiol, Arshavin and possibly consider keeping Alberto Aquilani and giving him chance during the pre-season fixtures.

  • Comment number 22.

    As for Manchester City, they'll soon realise that you cannot carve together rich success by assembling a hugely expensive and egotistical unit of players, they have a shortage in supply of tenacity and work-rate not talent, and until they can repair the mentally-lacking angle, they will always be flawed and fragile, easily exposed and vulnerable to immensely important fixtures or intimidating arenas.

  • Comment number 23.

    Why is mancini still wearing a scarf?

  • Comment number 24.

    You've got Liverpool playing an unproven 18 year old at right back (who played very well by the way) and Mancini decides to leave a European Championship and World Cup winning left winger on the bench? Just doesn't make much sense to me that! I definitely agree that although City look tighter under Mancini he hasn't done a better job than what Hughes would have done. I think his man management is quite poor, take Milner for instance who was one of the players of the season last year because he felt loved by O'Neill, you could tell by his reaction last night at being substituted it's just not the same at City. From a completely neutral point of view I really hope Spurs pip them to fourth again.

  • Comment number 25.

    #6 - History would appear to be against that view.

    As far as I remember the team that has won the Premier League title has also been in the Champions League. They have also finished in at least the top 4 in the previous season.

  • Comment number 26.

    #6 - at least that has been true since Blackburn won it.....

  • Comment number 27.

    13. At 08:55am 12th Apr 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    @phenomstruck

    Inaccurate, sure. But how is it disrespectful?

    My bad, just re-checked.Here's what my Inter mate from Italy tells me.
    Milano is the right suffix, Milan is associated with AC Milan. He says, since it wasn't the Italians who started the club AC Milan, Inter Milano fans think, it's not a "real" Italian club, since it's got an English name. (Milan and not Milano)
    Secondly, I am told that calling them Inter Milan means calling Man City something like Man City United. They do take offence to that.
    Again, my bad.

  • Comment number 28.

    Best prem in a long time, tight at the bottom, tight at the top (CL qualification).

    Liverpool were emence last night Kuyt was awesome. As was Suarez and spearing. Should be a cracker at the emerites at the weekend.

  • Comment number 29.

    first - good blog - disaster fo City last night

  • Comment number 30.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 31.

    21 - For Liverpool the must-be-sold players are: Koncheskey (£1-2m), Joe Cole (£8m), Poulsen (£2m) Jovanovic (£4m) and possibly Daniel Agger (£8m) and Maxi Rodriguez (£5m)

    8 mil for Joe Cole, are you insane??

  • Comment number 32.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 33.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 34.

    @James-V

    I also liked:

    "players who should be signed are: Sergio Canales, Bojan, Ashley Young, Sergio Asenjo, Raul Albiol, Arshavin"

    shortly followed by:

    "you cannot carve together rich success by assembling a hugely expensive and egotistical unit of players"

  • Comment number 35.

    Typical - no comments on teh blog - post 1st and then 28 appear from nowhere.

    Last night was a disaster for City. How he thought he could get away with resting playres at Anfield is beyond me.

    No Tevez for Saturday is good news for United

  • Comment number 36.

    I'll buy Joe Cole! I'll take him off LFC's hands for a bag of Wheat Crunchies and he can come and play hungover 5-a-side with me and my mates on a Sunday.

  • Comment number 37.

    34. At 09:20am 12th Apr 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:
    @James-V

    I also liked:

    "players who should be signed are: Sergio Canales, Bojan, Ashley Young, Sergio Asenjo, Raul Albiol, Arshavin"

    shortly followed by:

    "you cannot carve together rich success by assembling a hugely expensive and egotistical unit of players"

    -----------

    Genius!

  • Comment number 38.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 39.

    Roberto said we had to put Wembley to the back of our minds until after the Liverpool game, but clearly he wasn't practising what he was preaching by leaving Silva and De Jong on the bench. What was he thinking?! This game was bigger than Saturday. Getting into the CL is more important than winning the Cup. And he can't hide behind the excuse that the players are playing every 3 days, now that we're out of Europe. Surely, if fit, De Jong and Silva could have played last night AND Saturday, in 5 days time. It might not have changed the outcome, but you've got to give it your best shot.

    With Tevez going off, it exposed the fact that, playing at Roberto's tempo with his formations and strategies, creativity is too often down to individuality, not the way the team interacts, which means it's all too often left to Silva, Johnson and Tevez to spin some magic, and with the latter going off early on, and the former only coming on towards the end, there was a big burden on Adam Johnson's shoulders.

    I'm disapponted to say that I don't feel Roberto has learnt from last season. It looks to me like he thought the odds of getting a result weren't too good and would have settled for the draw. Instead of trying to seal a CL place in April, he wants to use up all the games, which, judging from his record in the crucial games as City boss, means City will come up short. He's walking a tightrope after last night, and if City lose against United, I think Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon Al Mubarak will be giving each other a knowing look. Will they trust Roberto to deliver a CL place, or will they decide a shot in the arm is required?

    Very disappointed and angry.

  • Comment number 40.

    3. At 08:46am 12th Apr 2011, phenomstruck wrote:

    My understanding is the team is called FC Internationale Milano.

  • Comment number 41.

    PetShopBoys_Forever

    It wouldn't be an issue if people didn't keep try and referencing the number of their post.

    Do people think that posting first affords them some kind of immortality?

  • Comment number 42.

    @RubberNutz

    "Do people think that posting first affords them some kind of immortality?"

    Do I get immortality for posting first when I wasn't trying to?

  • Comment number 43.

    @21 - Sell Agger? Liverpool have won more games with Agger starting than without this season. If only he wasn't so injury-prone...
    @MrChelsea - Milner was very unhappy at being taken off, quite fairly as far as I can see. Milner was at least putting some effort in, unlike Balotelli. As a Liverpool fan I was happy to see Balotelli stay on the pitch!

  • Comment number 44.

    Should also say that the minutes silence before the game in memory of Hillsborough victims was well respected by the away fans and it is to their credit. I know if it was my own fans there would have been a minority that definately wouldn't have respected it so perfectly.

  • Comment number 45.

    Phil, what are your thoughts on Spearing? Dalglish has started giving him quite a few run-outs lately (elbeit due to injuries). Is he going to make the grade do you think?

  • Comment number 46.

    Milner, like the rest of the Man City team, did absolutely nothing!
    being mardy for being taken off after producing naff all is beyond me.
    if you want to stay on the pitch at least offer something worthwhile in the game.

  • Comment number 47.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 48.

    Phil,

    It's all well and good pointing to Kennys "Victims" - Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea, but raising their game against these teams is never a problem. Why not mention Kenny's failings against West Ham West Brom and Wigan...... It is turning those results round that marks out the difference between a champion team and also rans.
    If you mark out the results you can see the Gulf.
    Man Utd - Liverpool 3 - 2
    Man Utd - Chelsea N/a
    Man Utd - Man City 2 - 1
    West Brom - Man Utd 1 - 2
    West Ham - Man Utd 2 - 4
    Wigan - Man Utd 0 - 4
    15 points out of 15 ( Man Utd V Chelsea still to come)

    Liverpool - Man Utd 3 - 1
    Liverpool - Chelsea 2 - 0
    Liverpool - Man City 3 - 0
    West Brom - Liverpool 2 - 1
    West Ham - Liverpool 3 - 1
    Wigan - Liverpool 1 - 1 (Granted Dalglish wasn't in charge here but wanted to show the same as in same teams at home, but even at Anfield, Dalglish's side couldn't break Liverpool down) 10 Points compared to Utds 15 having played a game more... Until Liverpool stop assuming they have a right to beat the teams in the lower end of the table then the Premiership will continue eluding them and whilst their fans have so much sway on the goings on at Anfield things will never change.
    For all the Glazers faults, they have presided over the most successful Era United have ever had. The debt continues to be managed, Utd are complying with the FFP rules. My only concern is that if Ferguson continues doing well with the squad at his disposal, then promising youngsters may be the only investment he will get. Utd badly need a top drawer goalkeeper and a world class midfielder. Defence, Out wide and attack are on a par with any team in Europe including Barca.

  • Comment number 49.

    Joe Cole worth £8m? Thats as bad as saying Torres is worth £50m.

  • Comment number 50.

    Personaly i would luv to see man c fall out of europe qualification.though mourinho has benefited from hving rich owners at chelsea,inter n now real d diff is that der is a certain belief,trust n respect dat mou brings to a club coupled wit his charisma which i dont c mancini bringing it to man c.

  • Comment number 51.

    41. At 09:31am 12th Apr 2011, RubberNutz wrote:
    PetShopBoys_Forever

    It wouldn't be an issue if people didn't keep try and referencing the number of their post.

    Do people think that posting first affords them some kind of immortality?
    -----------------------------------

    No people only do for a laugh really. The mods used to mod it for being off-topic so the challenge was to be first and have you comment remain unmoderated

  • Comment number 52.

    Dzeko's taking a lot of bashing for someone who appears to only get the job of back to goal, holding the ball up, which he usually did 'til two or three 'pool players got around him. Wasn't much support for City, and when there was it came in an incohesive way; their only real joy was Johnson and after a couple of attempts they practically stopped using him.

    Liverpool's midfield, and Kuyt and Suarez, were fantastic last night though - as was the new kid at the back. (Ok, infact the whole team were!)

    Ps Phil - Toure's shot was routine? I can see where you're coming from, but I'm surprised it didn't take Reina into the back of the net, phenominal from that distance!

  • Comment number 53.

    It is called Internazionale Milano, but either shortened to Internazionale or Inter. Not Inter Milan because Milan is obviously the English translation, which is what AC Milan use because they were formed by Englishmen.

    On the game, City looked like they just couldn't be bothered. I could understand them resting players if they were playing a bottom half of the table side, but Liverpool away was hardly ever going to be an easy game. Liverpool were impressive, they might just miss out on Europe this season but that will be a blessing in disguise. Without the extra games of the Europa League the squad will stay fresh and they'll make the top 4 at least and might have a sniff of the title given one or two good signings.

  • Comment number 54.

    Granted Dalglish wasn't in charge here but wanted to show the same as in same teams at home, but even at Anfield, Dalglish's side couldn't break Liverpool down)

    Obviously I meant Wigan at Home. And again I put both Utds home game v liverpool and liverpools home game v utd to give some consistency. Obv dalglish wasn't in charge at Old Trafford, I am merely pointing out that Liverpool tend to perform against the other big clubs, always have, always will.

  • Comment number 55.

    Interesting if you look at the City position. Much the same this time last year, crucial game against Spurs at home which they lost and ended up finishing 5th. Look who City are playing on 10th May !

    Hughes paid for his job because City were only 5th mid way though last season. Mancini came in and took them to.............5th. He has spent more money than the Portugese debt mountain and could this year finish............5th !

    Time to spend millions more Roberto !!

  • Comment number 56.

    .. "the failures of the Roy Hodgson regime" ... this sentence and the integrity of your article is put in its proper context if you were more honest if you'd have inserted "6 month" in front of the word regime.

  • Comment number 57.

    9. At 08:51am 12th Apr 2011, messien wrote:

    I don't think Mancini has done anything Mark Hughes wouldn't have done so far. And if Hughes was there, I doubt city would have wasted money on Balotelli and Dzeko and they would have kept Bellamy, who is a much better player than someone like Milner.

    ----------------

    I've been wondering about this for a while now, and the only conclusion I have arrived at is that the City heirarchy went for someone whose name sounded like the club: Mancini at Man City. After all, it worked for Arsenal.

    As for Milner, he seems to be one of those players that hasn't handled the transition from star of the team to substitute awfully well, and is now putting in mediocre performances when and if he plays at all. I'd guess he misses Martin O'Neill. Maybe City should get him in, you can see how good a job he did at Villa compared to how they're doing now with much the same squad. That said, as a Spurs fan I don't want City to do well, so maybe they should get Gordon Strachan instead.

  • Comment number 58.

    re comment 3
    Just looked at the FC INTERNAZIONALE MILANO website....their description. This site is full of references to FC INTERNAZIONALE MILANO so maybe you should write to them and tell them that they are offending you because you don't like what they call their own club or could it just be that a lot of people refer to the club in the shortened form of INTER so as not to confuse them with the other Milan because their full and proper name is a bit of a mouthful?

  • Comment number 59.

    If their Inter Milano then, considering we speak English, we can translate that to Inter Milan. Presumably the people whinging that they are referred to as Inter Milan in the blog only ever use "Italia" when referring to the Italian National Team. It's how they say it after all, don't want to upset them!

    As for last night's game I can only hope City play like that on the weekend (United fan). Balotelli is infuriating to watch, just don't like him as a player, he's a misery guts. Suarez, on the other hand, looks better and better every time he plays; really impressed. We could see Liverpool challenge the top 4 if Carroll and Suarez can put together some consistent performances like last night.

  • Comment number 60.

    It's not often you will hear a manager admit he sent a team out at less than 100%. He changed a side when he shouldn't have, the team arrived late, they are thinking about wembley and thought the could walk liverpool. Which they should have done. Liverpool are not as rubbish as I want them, but they are not as good as 3:0 either. Yes I am going to say, circumstances contrived to make the result what it was. Another day a different city team mentally could beat Liverpool easily. Mancini is making elementary mistakes like a rookie and it's costing City dearly. However it's the experience of KD that is keeping Liverpool afloat on the field and some astuteness. He is to be congratulated for offloading Torres and taking Caroll who is showing finally he can actually do the business if given the service. I like last nights result, because it means liverpool fans will be banging on about their title chances again at the start of next season.

  • Comment number 61.

    We will lose to United. We will finish 5th or even 6th. Tevez will leave.
    Don't wanna be negative but prepare for the worst.
    It's City we're talking about after all.....

  • Comment number 62.

    Mancini and Man city will most likely part company at the end of the season. Unfortunately he does not seem to have a team relationship with the players and you really can’t see any spirit in the team when they play. Superstar pay checks for players that have not proved to themselves that they deserve to earn the salary they are given will affect them and the effort contributed by the other genuinely good players at the club. I think with their resources and obvious desire to succeed you may see Jose Mariniho tempted by a return to premiere league next season. This may then see the return of masterful Adebayor and the exit of bad boy Balloteli for sure!
    Marinhio has a gift of managing players and if you can’t get masterful defensively minded individuals like Hart in goal, Boateng, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov in defence Yaya, De Jong, Barry defensively midfield keeping clean sheets and controlling the ball and game you have a real problem!? Undoubtedly this will involve buying another centre back (Cahill) and another midfielder (seedorf) and another striker (carvani) and ruining some more talented footballers!
    Tevez and Adyebayor what a dream team for any manger at any club in the world!

  • Comment number 63.

    Citeh's centre midfielders are the best paid in the world are they not?

    Yaya Toure and to a lesser extent de Jong are 2 of the best strong men around. Then there is Milner.

    And, I've often noted the limitations of Spearing & Lucas - but here they 'owned' these 200k a week absentees.

    my question to LFC fans is, Am I right that when Gerrard is out, these two holding midfielders seem to play with a lot less weight on their shoulders?

    Or, to Citeh fans.......is it simply that truly playing for the club shirt and all its history is better motivation than playing purely for financial gain? y'know on a rainy night in the north of england?

    Because Citeh fans, you have not one single player on the pitch who cares for your club. Not one. Why would they? they only signed cos you offered them the most dosh.

    No Carras or Keanes. No JTs or Stevie Gs, just merceneries. Only me's.

    ooh that rhymes.

  • Comment number 64.

    @60: I like last nights result, because it means liverpool fans will be banging on about their title chances again at the start of next season.

    Judging by your comments, I assume you're also going to do the same with your team?

  • Comment number 65.

    Its time these people realised money cant buy you success, we saw galacticos come and go and now Abramavic is losing his brains over champions league trophy after investing billions of pounds, hope Man C can resurrect at Wembley. As for Pool, damn am worried they r looking too good,Tottenham,Man C, and even chelsea should be worried..

  • Comment number 66.

    Mancini was disappointing yesterday. You don't rest key players on a game played on Monday night, to have them fresh for Saturday afternoon. If you do that, what will you do next season if you eventually achieve Champions League football?

    What was more disappointing was the City performance. Now, would I be wrong, as a Manchester United fan, if I said "you pay cash to get players, but they won't have the heart to fight for your cause"? The consistent performance from City's players yesterday were from Dzeko and Balotelli - utterly disappointed. Thinking of "galacticos of English football" is as wise as Balotelli describing himself best player in the world.

    Last night though was about Liverpool. They dismantled CIty with extreme ease, fighting for every ball, displaying a spirit that was admiring to watch. Carroll opened his account for Liverpool (as Torres will open his at Chelsea, sooner or later) in emphatic fashion. Suarez was the expert in digging at City's defense but what I liked most was seeing youth coming good at Liverpool again: Young Flanagan showed grit, determination and good passing skills, while Spearing was in the heart of many key moments for Liverpool. I was moaning a lot, when Rafa Benitez was the Liverpool manager and was feeling the need to import also youth at a club priding themselves on bringing excellent young players into the Premiership. Are you watching Rafa?

    The only fitting epilogue for my comment would be a question to the Liverpool board: what are you waiting for, in order to hand Dalglish a decent contract? To win the Premiership, to build a new stadium? to correct the economy's mismanagement by series of governments? what?

  • Comment number 67.

    As a Spurs fan watching I was delighted with this result -if a little surprised.

    First up Suarez continues to look amazing, why on earth did we not even try to put in a bid - I'm shaking my head!

    Second City were awful, put me in mind of Spurs's performance last wednesday in that did something happen just before the start that took their minds totally off the game??

    Third, I wasn't sure if Ballotelli was subbed due to him playing poorly or that he'd taken a knock? He seemed to be holding his back for a period

    Fourth, seems Liverpool are starting to bring some youngsters into the team which is good to see - however, it was Hodgson who really started bringing through these guys in the uefa cup was it not i.e. kelly, wilson and much more use of spearing. He's been criticized a lot for his liverpool reign, but at least deserves a bit of recognition for that rather than it all being put down to dalglish as 5live seemed to be saying last night

  • Comment number 68.

    @64.
    Agreed

  • Comment number 69.

    #21, selling Agger?!

    He's the best centre back we have, albeit somewhat injury prone. If he can stay fit for 90% of next season we'll see him back to his best again. On a similar note, was pleased/relieved to see Aurelio make it through a full 90mins without limping off last night.

  • Comment number 70.

    It's a bit painful being a Man City fan sometimes. In the old days there was no pressure and we could just enjoy our football games even if we lost. It was just a nice day out with a pie and a pint. Now everybody is baying for Citys blood, willing them to fail all the time, and revelling in it when they do so. Just as a curious because I don't know for sure, but when was the last time you did a blog on City after a game theyu have won? Beaten by Villa - blog, beaten by United - blog (although fair enough that was a great goal), beaten by Liverpool - blog. Maybe even subconciously you enjoy it when City lose a little bit :)

    On a serious note though, we can weigh it up properly at the end of the season. Football is anything but predictable, and I wouldn't begrudge Spurs the 4th spot if they've earned it. I have to say I like their attacking style, and with 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw, Mancini might learn that a little gambling sometimes pays dividends.

  • Comment number 71.

    It looks to me as is Balotelli is an urban myth. flattering to deceive. Has this guy ever played consistently well over a season, anywhere?

    More generally it seems as though Mancini, following faithfully in the shoes of recent City management and ownership- doesn't really understand what his best team is and how he'd like his squad to play. He has far too many players and some of them have reputations that transcend their delivery. Its all very well to take a view that City can afford to take a risk on buying players- and indeed they've bought at least a few that many would question as a consistent part of a trophy-winning side (Lescott? Milner? Barry? Wright Phillips? and the jury's well out on others) The problem doesn't come about in buying these players or even in taking the hit when they leave after being found out. No, the real problem comes when you put them in the side and have to live with the results they deliver. Thats where you pay the price of your mistakes, no matter how much money you have.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ 63 - Well the players 'Playing for the shirt' at Liverpool wasn't exactly doing that 4 months ago under Hodgson were they?

    Balotelli needs to go, id chuck him in with the youth team till the transfer window and get rid, might even bring that massive ego down a notch but even then he's probably going round telling the youths that hes the best player in the team!

  • Comment number 73.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 74.

    The sooner Mancini gets the sack the better. He's done nothing but fallen out with players in the 16 months he's been in charge. He's shown Bellamy, Adebayor, Petrov and Santa Cruz the door but continues to play the woefully lazy Balotelli, as well as the inept Dzeko and Jo. He's also fallen out with Tevez on numerous occasions, without whom we'd be struggling to get a Europa League place.

    He's spent £130 million this year, but we're on the same points as last season, and his only decent signing has been David Silva. Apart from that, our best players this year were all here when he arrived; Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Nigel De Jong and Carlos Tevez.

    Dzeko's slow and looks out of his depth, Balotelli is lazy and has a bad temperament, Kolarov can't defend, Yaya Toure's got a good pass on him, but he's slow and can't tackle like a holding midfielder should be able to. James Milner's had to keep the bench warm most of the season and Mancini won't play Adam Johnson on the left wing where he's at his most effective. Even when the opposition looks weak at right back (like last night), Mancini doesn't once try to switch Adam Johnson over to the left wing to run at a debutant right back. He's clueless.

  • Comment number 75.

    @Comment 3

    You're being a bit pretentious there, yes in Italy they never say Inter Milan but either Inter or Internazionale. But the term Inter Milan is used in Britain to distinguish them, it's no big deal.

    Many foreign people including commentators, players and managers say 'Manchester' when in fact they mean Man United, presumably because until the spending spree most people didn't even know Manchester had a second team...

  • Comment number 76.

    #70 prophet samuel, good point, we all used to like Citeh fans purley for not following UTD.

    But the only thing worse than them 'we're the biggest club in the world, prawn sandwich eating, fergie-time, Berkshire red devils' , is a squillionaire owner buying every player whatever the cost and inflating wages and transfer fees for other clubs.

    Bet u would not switch back tho?

  • Comment number 77.

    Man City are never going to progress with mancini, he is too defensive for the premier league the premier league is too fast paced for his liking. Man City have been poor against the big clubs is arsenal man utd chelsea spurs and liverpool and they are so boring to watch. I wouldn't be surprised if a new manager comes in the summer because mancini is not attack-minded enough and the fact that he is not picking silva who is their most creative player for every game is unbelievable. They were lucky to beat chelsea at eastlands and extremely fortunate to get a draw at the emirates and especially in the game against chelsea at stamford bridge they started off so negatively. Mancini goes into games looking to get a draw and for a top four club that isn't good enough, they should be looking to win every game and without tevez they would be 6th at the very highest and now i really favor spurs to finish 4th and it is better for the champions league if spurs finish 4th because they play more attacking football and their matches are exciting, i could not see city scoring 3 goals against inter and mancini would adopt a negative defensive style which isn't yielding results. If his tactics were working then fair enough, mourinho did it at chelsea and then at inter where he employed defensive tactics but his team knew how to attack and were deadly on the counter attack. But Mancini is playing 3 holding midfielders, barry should not be in the team, it should be de jong with yaya toure and milner have silva on the left and jhonson on the right and tevez up front but i think that balotelli should be in the team aswell, i know that he is moody but i don't think that mancini's style favors him.

  • Comment number 78.

    Balotelli is awful and epitomises all that is wrong with Manchester City. It makes no difference to him whether City win or lose..........He takes his inflated pay check away at the end of the night and then clears off home (normally on a plane to Milan).

    Why do City fans put up with his nonsense?

  • Comment number 79.

    If Mourinho couldn't motivate Balotelli at Inter then i doubt any coach can. Certainly not before he grows up a little anyway. Maybe when he reaches his mid-20s things might change and he'll become wiser and more team-orientated, but you can bet City won't wait around that long.

    Didn't Mourinho once give him a 0-rating after an Inter game?! That would have been enough for me to change my attitude!!

  • Comment number 80.

    If Man City dont make the Champions League this year Mancini will be sacked and City will still be stuck in their goldfish bowl of a cycle.

    Weren't we promised that Man City would be dominating world football by this point?

    They better get cracking because they dont look anywhere near like a side capable of winning trophies.

  • Comment number 81.

    @72, mate, these are average players! they can't be supermen every week, but seem motivated (by the shirt?) for the big games.

    They should not be able to compete physically with Toure, Kompany, de Jong, Ballotelli, Dzeko etc

  • Comment number 82.

    63. At 10:14am 12th Apr 2011, jonahmona wrote:

    Because Citeh fans, you have not one single player on the pitch who cares for your club. Not one. Why would they?

    I reckon 1 or 2 do. Joe Hart for instance. However there are many mercenaries there and if they do crumble again, some will be off.

    Worryingly though, Man City have by far the easiest run in. Spurs have to play Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool. Scraping into Europa might just be a good enough victory for Spurs this year...

  • Comment number 83.

    @TheCynicalSasquatch:

    Why? It doesn't matter how short a time Hodgson was in charge. Are you still trying to bang the 'not given enough time' drum? Do us all a favour and drop it. It is a demonstrable fact that Liverpool's league performances have improve significantly since his dismissal. So it was short with good reason, referencing it doesn't make any difference. Hodgson's appointment does go to prove that the majority of football writers and pundits in the 4th estate haven't got a clue...

    @mtrenners:

    I think you'll find that Benitez used youth player in the early stages of cup competitions too. Let's not revise history to suit you opinion. Kelly and Wilson didn't really get a look in under him and Spearing was used because of injury, Hodgson's hand was forced. The criticism was warranted, by the way.

  • Comment number 84.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 85.

    mate, these are average players! they can't be supermen every week, but seem motivated (by the shirt?) for the big games.

    They should not be able to compete physically with Toure, Kompany, de Jong, Ballotelli, Dzeko etc
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    But it's not all about being big and strong though is it? Are you telling me you wouldn't swap Balotelli for Suarez?

  • Comment number 86.

    Liverpool were excellent last night, a real cohesive performance (at bit like City v Liverpool earlier in the season), especially the youngsters who showed great maturity. As is the trend these days, there's a complete over reaction to one game. This was not a must win game from City and Manci gambled and got it wrong by his own admittance (even Fergie does this now and again). I'm not convinced Tevez won't play on Saturday. I think he felt a slight pull and thought 'I'm coming off so that I can play on Saturday' so don't be surprised if he plays. As for the Champions League, am I the only City fan who would rather be winning the FA cup than being a bit part team every year in the CL? City have been a bit part team for 40 years so I'd rather be winning something. If City are consistenly winning or challenging for the league or cups then CL will come anyway, but as a fan I'd rather see a trophy than a league table that says City are taking part in the CL. The problem is of course if you're not in the CL then the best players don't come so I can see the logic. As for the comments about players turning up for the money, don't make me laugh. About 90% of people on here don't go to work for the love of it do they?

  • Comment number 87.

    76. At 10:35am 12th Apr 2011, jonahmona wrote:
    #70 prophet samuel, good point, we all used to like Citeh fans purley for not following UTD.

    But the only thing worse than them 'we're the biggest club in the world, prawn sandwich eating, fergie-time, Berkshire red devils' , is a squillionaire owner buying every player whatever the cost and inflating wages and transfer fees for other clubs.

    Bet u would not switch back tho?

    ------------------------------------------

    Depends when you ask. I would this morning, but after we beat Sunderland 5-0 last weekend then no way :)

    It's not like I don't get it. Everyone hates the zillionaire playboys throwing money at the market, even I think most of it is pretentious nonesense and I'm a City fan. I'll tell you what I want more than anything else. I want stable, sensible, strong leadership at the club. I want a progressive attacking manager. The moto of the SAS isn't "Who Dares Wins" for nothing.

  • Comment number 88.

    To phenomstruck, the team is F.C. Internazionale Milano, In other words FC Inter Milan.

  • Comment number 89.

    I have been expecting moaning at McNulty about something - it's the norm. But reading some 20% of the comments being about whether it's Internazionale, Internazionale Milano or Inter Milan is beyond belief. Thanks for the entertainment. :)

  • Comment number 90.

    #85 When it comes to centre midfield, strength is a massive factor IF you wanna win stuff. Think Keane, Souness, Deschamp, Breitner, Viera, Alonso, Gattuso, Davids, Nobby Stiles even.

    Name me ONE successful team (Brazil 1970 aside) that did not have a strongman in the middle of the park.


    But my point was that in spite of thier massive wages, and huge physiques the very limited and very tiny Lucas & Spearing ran the show, motivated by something money obviously cant buy.

  • Comment number 91.

    so im confused... is it inter milan or Milano or Internazionale or just Inter or internazionale Milano or Milano internazinale or inter mailn athletic.
    Can we have another 40 comments to clear this up for me please because its really interesting! thanks

  • Comment number 92.

    To keep up with the spirit of the day: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F.C._Internazionale_Milano

    And to come back to after thoughts about the match, after the third goal, my first other thought was: how are Arsenal feeling about playing Liverpool on their next game?

  • Comment number 93.

    @Football_UK

    Is that Arsenal's next league fixture? God, it will be weird supporting the scousers TWO matches running. I'll need a good shower after that.

  • Comment number 94.

    @83 Simon: I care not. All I have to say to this obsolescent logic is repeat the phrase "6 month regime".

  • Comment number 95.

    Mancini, football is football don't ignore Liverpool team.

  • Comment number 96.

    Good news for scousers, kanchelskis_legend loves you more than City - he can't be a proper MUFC fan!

  • Comment number 97.

    "If their Inter Milano then, considering we speak English......" would that it were so, old thing. their, their.

    mancini is right to blame himself. his teams are consistenly unbalanced and he should be more focused on the league (or, at least, european qualification) that the cup. balotelli is a poor man's ibrahimovic. maybe even a poor man's bendtner.

    what's not to like? tevez probably out for the week-end and scousers getting giddy over nothing. the indian summer goes on.

  • Comment number 98.

    Im still upset to hear these comments "the failures of the Roy Hodgson regime". We Finished 7th last season under Rafa Benitez. Hodgson inherited a team low on confidence, poor on form not even to begin to mention the boardroom problems and the shadow of Kenny Daglish hanging around, he never had a chance.
    The rot had set in before Roy and not because of him. Im a big Roy Hodgson fan and wish him all the best at West Brom. He was the Right Man at the Wrong time as is always the case when a Manager previously succesful has to leave due to a downturn in form.

    On City, I dont think Mancini is a great manager but to blame him for the transfer policy is ludicrous. City will buy any big name to boost their own name and to try and manage this policy is insane. How many Strikers have City bought since they become rich. I would say 10 why because Strikers are more famous. Tevez, Balotelli, Dzeko, Jo, Adebayor, Santa Cruz, Bellamy, Robinho,Caicedo, Bojinov,Bianchi. 10 Strikers in 4 Years is just crazy. As well as the ones they already had and let go.

  • Comment number 99.

    @ 93 Kanchelskis_legend,

    yes, it's Arsenal they play on Sunday, at 4:00 in the afternoon, to be precise :-)

    After the third goal went in, seeing Liverpool playing so well and, Carroll opening his scoring account at Liverpool emphatically, I was laughing my head out thinking of Liverpool supporters' thoughts about helping United in securing that elusive 19th title, at The Emirates :)

  • Comment number 100.

    So many millions spent in the past few months, much much more than united arsenal and liverpool combined and still their only aim for this season is to be in top 4?

    and guess even that look in danger now, lol

    how can these city mugs even dream to compare their club with the red devils

    small club, small mentality and yet noisy. lol

    am sure any true footballing fan out there would rather wish to see spurs at 4th than a team of selfish players and deluded fans.

 

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