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The Great Stoke Point Robbery Post Match Reaction



Another draw against Stoke and another absymal City performance, yet somehow The Blues are in 4th place with a game in hand. Here's the dugout feedback from last night's groan-athon...

Roberto Mancini:

Is the City gaffer chopping and changing the starting XI to such an extent that confusion is setting in? He dropped Bridge, Petrov, Ireland, SWP and Zabaleta from the FA Cup throwaway for last night's scrap. Surely The Blues should be playing with a more settled side at this stage of the season?

'In the first half the ball was in the air most of the time and it was difficult for us to play. We had to fight, it was the only way to play. We were better after the break, but when it was 11 v 10 we should have created more chances. We should have got it down the channels for Shaun or Adam, but too often we played it down the middle. I made a change by bringing Shaun on and pushing Gareth to left back, but we should have been more aggressive to try to win the game. We were too quiet at times and we had some good chances to win this game.

'Sometimes football is like this, we made mistakes but in the end we got a goal when we needed it. But this was two points less than what we wanted. Fourth is not a bad position, but it would have been better with a win. Now we must recover, I hope we can come back and win in the cup next week but tonight, we should have looked for two more points than we got.'


The biggest worry for many Blues was the slow tempo that City are currently playing with. They look far too lethargic and are showing a marked lack of urgency. Something ain't right.

Tony Pulis:

The Stoke boss felt rightly aggrieved at his 10 man side's goal being disallowed in the final seconds. City's defence had caved in again.

'It was a good goal, the result has been taken away from us by a poor decision. You only have to look at Kolo Touré. He's on his knees with his head in his hands. He's not appealing for a foul. It's a disgraceful decision. I just hope Wiley accepts he got it wrong. Professional footballers know it's a good goal.'

Hardly inspiring stuff from City's hapless Captain who's form is worsening with each performance. Touré can be sur ethat Stoke will be fired up for next week's crucial FA Cup 5th Round Replay.

Pulis, after bemoaning an off the ball challenge by the struggling Patrick Vieira concluded:

'When it was 11 against 11 we were the better team and really took the game to them. We played with good passion and commitment. Then when we have a player sent off and it's difficult for us. We are a million miles away from Man City when you look at the depth of their squad, but we have spirit and we also have some good players as well. It was a really good performance from the lads, but then you get decisions affected by the officials.'

As the season builds towards an exciting climax, that disallowed goal could prove crucial to City's cause come the final reckoning.

VMC City Video Link: Mancio Pitchside Post Match

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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 17 2010

Time: 9:29AM

Your Comments

To be fair, Stoke are a big, strong side and are very hard to beat at home. I wouldn't worry too much at the moment - hell, even you're first paragraph should give you enough reason to be happy! 4th with a game in hand, keep plugging away and I have no doubt you'll finish in the CL spots. The scouse have tough games coming up.
Gunnerman
It's clear from Mancio's post match interview on the link that he's on a steep learning curve!
Johnny Baguette
It sounds good Gunenrman but wathcing us play at the moment makes you want to punch yourself in the face. We've gone from all out attack to all out defence in the less than two months and that has to be a shock to anyone's system. At the moment we look like a bunch of toothless jaffas.
SkyBlueSuedeShoes
Fair enough - I guess my point was I think your lack of attacking threat - in this game at least - was more due to the part Stokes power in defense and midfield played in tandem with home advantage. You make a good point though, any team would struggle having to go through a complete tactical change.

Saying that, do you think that Mark Hughes was really a completely attacking manager? I think he was nearly as pragmatic as Mancini. I defer to your knowledge on that comment though. Just don't turn in to spurs, chopping and changing managers is no good for any club.
Gunnerman
OMG I'll shoot myself if we ever turn into the Spuds! Think I'd almost prefer being a rag to being a spud (ALMOST!). I think the Liverpool game will be a bigger test of how far we've come under Mancini than Stoke - after all, Liverpool play football, whilst Stoke seem to prefer a weird combination of Rugby and British Bulldog. Mancini clearly is on a steep learning curve, as I'm sure even pub team in Italy play better football than Stoke. It might be effective and it might keep them in the Prem, but good lord I'd hate to support a team that played like that!
fifthcolumnblue
Oh, and I expect a retrospective 3 match ban for PV now that I've seen that kick. Whelan is lucky not to be singing soprano. As to the disallowed goal? 50-50 for me but I'll greatfully accept the ref's decision. Unfortunately these things have a way of evening themselves out so I now expect the cloggies to beat us controversially in the FA Cup replay now!
fifthcolumnblue
Gunnerman, I think Hughes built a team he viewed as a solid unit with very good fast-break skills, and this is the style which made us feared by everyone in the first half of the season. It was a pragmatic team, as you suggest. My god we were scary going forward on the break. The opposition knew it, and so did we. The problem was he thought he had built a team which wouldnt concede easily, and suffered because a) he signed Toure, which I think most fans and possibly he would now accept was a huge error, b) he signed two new centre halves to start the season in the 1st XI, and c) all of our fullbacks lack concentration. In all other respects I was delighted with squad, and was pretty confident he would get it sorted. I also felt Kompany would eventually become first choice CB, as he just has that Terry/Ferdinand authority about him. If Hughes had kept his job, during the ANC Kompany would have established himself, Nedum would have covered Lescott instead of Boyata, and we would have got some solidity with established club players. Big mistake playing Boyata so many times instead of the England U-21 Captain. Over-exposed one, alienated the other. Mancini has, instead of fine-tuning the back four and understanding that the team was well designed for this league, completely reworked it. With him we have: bottled the cup 1st leg against united when Hughes would have gone for the kill; brought on Robinho for Santa Cruz AWAY to Everton - duuurrr that'll work; played Petrov far too much and out of position when he doesnt work hard enough for the team and loses us the midfield; alienated SWP, our best break player; etc etc. It was the height of arrogance to completely restyle the squad, and it is showing in our appalling play. If we beat Liverpool it might be ok. If we lose and dont convince, I think there is enough frustration in the fans that they might start to turn on him. Not the team - him. At that point he is in big trouble. Our board have blown it in my view. Just before Hughes was sacked, I expected 5th or 6th this year, and top three next year plus a good shot at the Europa League. I just had no doubt it would happen. One year of patience was all it took. But no. Right, rant over. Sorry if you've read this far!
DarthGonzo
No worries Darth! Good points well made. I was shocked when Hughes got the chop, I thought he would be given at least a couple of years. IMO, this points to a board with one very simple, yet lofty ambition - get the CL this year, no questions. Which is a shame, as we all know, football is a funny old game, you can rarely guarantee anything.

If that is the aim of the board, you'd imagine Mancini is managing on a knife edge, and as well as his natural inclination for a defensive side, this potential threat of a sacking could be pushing his tactical ethos in to an even more defensive style.

Once game rarely makes a season, even if you don't beat liverpool I still reckon there's more than enough time to make the CL, there's a long way to go yet. I'm the eternal optimist, but we still might just sneak the league. Keep the faith chaps.
Gunnerman
 

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