Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Monday March 12 2007
It is indicative of the malaise surrounding the club that not even the backing of 8,000 travelling supporters can inspire this current Manchester City outfit to perform. Indeed so poor was the performance that the team managed to alienate the supporters completely as shouts of 'you`re not fit to wear the shirt` and 'what the fuck is going on` brought a new low in performance to a close.
All of the press reports pre-game highlighted what many have being saying for a while, that Manchester City is a club divided. Richard Dunne and Joey Barton both went live in their criticism of the foreign contingent and this, allegedly, without the manager`s knowledge.
As a psychological ploy it backfired spectacularly as City managed to participate in a quarter final tie and not manage a single shot on target. Surely that is a first in this competition?
A team that has so little bonhomie and togetherness is surely one that a manager has cobbled together with little thought and lots of naivety? Players only come to Manchester City, it seems, because they sense a big payday in return for nothing. Stuart Pearce hasn`t figured that out and it is just one of the reasons why he should do the honourable thing and walk out of the club today.
But that won`t happen. Pearce has no loyalty to Manchester City, as shown with the under 21 fiasco, and is probably as guilty as his players of not really caring what happens. This defeat brought with it the usual Pearce sound bites, but little in the way of answers as to what is happening.
The FA Cup was supposed to bring light relief to the club in the wake of the dramatic slide towards the bottom of the Premiership. Supporters did arrive in hope rather than expectation as far as the result was concerned, however they had a right to expect some passion from a team that 'often go missing` in the league.
Blackburn started the nervier of the two sides but City never took advantage. Once again the forward line wasn`t supplied with any frequency, the midfield failed to get forward in support and the defence cleared to the opposition. Distin was perhaps most guilty, where the latter was concerned, perhaps showing how little he now wishes to be at this club.
Once Mokoena scored you sensed it was over. City`s only chance lay in a replay and hanging on for penalties such was their lack of cutting edge. Like last week they could have played all night and would have still failed to get a shot on target.
Blackburn did try to add some spice to the game by making a fairer game of it in reducing their numbers. Mokoena followed his goal with a second half dismissal after hauling Corradi down. This left City with 20 minutes to take advantage of the extra man, it took Pearce 10 minutes to respond and then it was to bring Samaras on as a right winger? Mpenza didn`t appear until there was 7 minutes remaining and managed more in those 7 minutes than Corradi had done throughout the game.
Blackburn effectively sealed the tie when Derbyshire made it two in injury time. However the tie was, in reality, over when the first went in. Blackburn deserved their place in the last four but surely would have expected Friedel to have to do some work.
Once again a City team, under Pearce, have failed to deliver. Worse still; the team look clueless, the splits are obvious and the manager will never deliver at this club. If City are to preserve their Premiership status changes at the top must be made. Under Pearce they are only heading one way.
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Date:Monday March 12 2007
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