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Middlesbrough 0 - Manchester City 2

Riverside Stadium

17/03/2007 3pm

Attendance: 26427

City lift the Gloom

If Stuart Pearce has one overriding quality it is his ability to pull a result from nowhere just as the knives are sharpening.

Just as it was at Christmas, Pearce went into this game knowing the axe man was waiting for his charges to slip up and drop the club further into the mire. Again they delivered when most, this writer included, doubted they would again this season.

Second half goals from Distin and Mpenza were enough to give the blues a comfortable 2-0 win and propel them two places up the table. The team spirit was there for all to see and the performance built on the commitment and desire shown against Chelsea in the week.

That it took such an insipid performance at Blackburn last week to make the team realise how far they had fallen in the supporters` affections is criminal. That they have taken the criticism on board and responded positively is equally to their credit and it is to be hoped that they can now build upon this result and move the club forward and establish a mid-table finish.

So where does this result leave the manager? Personally I believe too many bridges have now been burnt. The under 21 situation, falling attendances, poor transfer dealings and a negative brand of football have all left their mark.

Stuart Pearce has many admirable qualities and will, hopefully, one day be a good manager. I cannot see that being with Manchester City and fully expect this season to be his last. Yesterday`s result may well have saved him until the end of the season and for that Pearce and his team should be applauded.

It essentially leaves City in a much healthier position going into the international break and unlikely to be looking for a new manager just yet.

Star Player

Distin .... After a poor performance at Blackburn has responded with a good performance against Chelsea and a better one here with a goal thrown in. Showed his affection for the club with his goal celebration and general demeanor.

Perhaps the Dunne criticism sparked a reaction because this was an all round better Sylvain Distin.

Manager Rating

Pearce has been brave in dropping Weaver and Corradi and City look better for it. Isaksson inspires more confidence in the goal and Mpeanza just offers more than Corradi.

The team was originally set up for containment again but Pearce was forced to go 4-4-2 when Richards was injured. They looked better for it and the manager should be credited for making that change in formation.

Opponent Rating

Boro obviously had Monday's cup replay on their minds but you can only beat what is in front of you.

That we finally broke a 30 year hoodoo was down to Manchester City not Middlesbrough's failings.




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The journalist

Writer: Andy Leggott Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 18 2007

Time: 11:17AM

Your Comments

Just over twenty years ago there was a certain man named Fergie who was one match away from the chop. Remeber the old saying ...Act in haste repent at leisure... City should remeber there is not another man in the land who can manage the Club with the same passion and enthusiasm as 'Psycho' so fans should think long and hard before crying out for change. Also remember this is only his second season in top management and he can only improve in the job.
alphieblues
Yes Alphie, Taggart was given time. And we have given Pearce ample time as well, even though he has not had the money red nose has had. I think before we hold too many street parties off the back of that creditable win at Boro we should remind ourselves of a few facts. Not at any stage was Taggarts side under sustained danger of relegation. Neither did he over a 2 year period wrack up such appalling stats as 92 points from a possible 228 or 22 defeats in 38. The goalscoring record under Pearce is cronic, we have no out and out playmaker, the backroom staff have no top flight record of proven success or experience. The clubs high wages and transfer policy allied to the managers tactical naiivety has led us to where we are right now in a mediocre league. Here's to a second vital result on the road at Newcastle in a fortnight and here's to an unbeaten run until the end of the season with a new found tactical nouse and spirit. It's crucial we all stick together and ensure our safety. I still reckon though that an Under 21 amicable departure in May remains a very real possibility.
Johnny Baguette
You saying that Pearce is on a par with Ferguson? Again I reiterate that under Pearce we have gone backwards. The football is turgid. His transfer market acumen is awful. This club does not have neither the pulling power nor the finances that yoonited had, even back in 89, and as such are unlikely to replicate their achievements even if they sat with a manager for 30 years. However better managed clubs than City have still got into Europe, won trophies, appeared in cup finals with astute management at all levels. It won't happen when the manager is obsessed with defence and not losing rather than winning.
mcfcandy
I also fail to grasp the 'Pearce In' argument spouted by many. The only reason ever given is 'look what happened with Ferguson' as though that is common place in the game. Ferguson and yoonited are a freak that developed as a team just as the sky money started. We all know the effects Sky money has had and while Ferguson undoubtedly has talent I would argue a lot of yooniteds success would have been possible under another manager given their pulling power. Maybe not as much but certainly more than clubs of City's stature. I don't think the example of another club in a different era is reason enough to stand by a manager that has shown no potential as yet.
mcfcandy
What is your solution then ???
alphieblues
A solution? I'd be pretty good if I could do that. I believe Pearce should go .... although the opportunity to change this season has now gone. I argue this on the basis that just because you have a poor record with managers in the past it shouldn't mean the wrong one is kept in post to counter this argument. A replacement should be headhunted profesionally and in a business like manner. No business on earth would appoint a person with no experience into a high profile role as City did with Pearce. He was the cheap option and we are paying for it. Personally I would like the manager of my club to play to win, to go out to win every competition they play in (naive but the very basis of sport) and to employ a first class scouting network that examines every facet of a players charector before they consider purchasing them. Foreign players should be recruited only if their personality traits suggest they will fit in and adapt to the culture. This is the similar to the way Bolton run things and is a model that outperforms City's amateur approach in all respects. Can we attract a manager who will deliver? That depends on the board and their ambition. One thing is for sure Stuart Pearce has been given 2 years and has taken the club backwards. They are in a relegation fight and losing over 1 million per month. From comparative stability two years ago we will now have to sell either Richards or Barton to simply balance the books. Not all the managers fault, I agree, but he is part of the problem and quite obviously cannot improve things on the football pitch sufficiently to help balance the books.
mcfcandy
You seem to forget that it was KK who spent more than 60 million that put the Club into a parlous financial position. At least under Pearce the debt is now almost a quarter of what it was.
alphieblues
Would that be the manageable debt that is no longer manageable? The board's ineptitude is no different under either manager. KK could inspire .... SP can't. Also bear in mind that we weren't 6th highest payers under mad kev .... we are under Sp with a worse team.
mcfcandy
Alphie ..... just what about SP impresses you enough to keep him?
mcfcandy
Who says the debt is no longer manageable ?
alphieblues
The club is losing over 1 million a month on the last six months figures. In that time they have made no purchases. It is quite obvious they need to sell to balance the books or attract investment. Investment may be in place as long as we stay up but new owners will change the management anyway. The question remains will SP keep us up?
mcfcandy
 

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