City’s ongoing failings in Europe
Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta, centre, celebrates scoring against Queens Park Rangers with teammates Gareth Barry, right, and Sergio Aguero. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Manchester City have come a long way from being a relative unknown in third division English football to a club that’s today a serious title contender in the Premier League.
The have amassed tremendous fan following in recent years, culminating with their stupendous EPL triumph in 2012 after a period of nearly 45 years.
With success come expectations and responsibility, and if there’s one blemish on their resume, it’s failing to live up to their billing in Europe.
With a stuttering start to this season’s Champions League competition, City was knocked out in the group stage last year and also failed to leave an impression in the two Europa League campaigns prior to that.
So what could be the reason behind City’s string of poor results in Europe? They seem to have a luxury of talent in the form of Aguero, Toure, Balotelli, and Zabaleta, to name a few, but one of the prime reasons for their failings is coach Roberto Mancini.
It’s hard to explain why a coach of Mancini’s calibre struggles to dominate in Europe, because City has done exceptionally well against the big teams in the Premier League. They demolished Manchester United 6-1 away from home, but labored against Napoli, for instance, in the Champions League last season.
Let’s face it – throughout his managerial career, Mancini has had a dismal string of results in Europe.
As manager of Inter Milan, he led the team to league success but failed in the knockout rounds of the Champions League competition; this being one of the prime reasons why he was sacked by the club.
If you look at the players in their ranks, Toure (with Barcelona), Aguero (Europa League with Atletico Madrid) and Tevez (with United) have won competitions in Europe, so it’s unfair to put down the failings of City to lack of experience on the pitch.
To add to the argument, Mancini failed to win the Champions League with Inter Milan, despite having several experienced players in the squad and ultimately, it took a certain ‘Special One’ to guide them to Champions League glory the following year in 2010.
So clearly, Mancini seems to be missing the plot.
Here’s a man who has stated that City can win the competition if they progress to the next stage, but to be assembled in a group with the likes of Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax in this season’s competition only makes the task harder for Mancini, who finds himself under the pump yet again after a narrow loss to Madrid and a draw with Dortmund after match day two.
Does this imply that Mancini lacks the expertise necessary to make his team stand out in the Champions League competition, which is a totally different ball game?
Or does this mean City can win club football’s elite competition only with a different manager?
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