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Have Manchester City improved from last season?

Roberto Mancini has underachieved in Europe as Manchester City boss

Premier League champions Manchester City went out of the Champions League in very tame fashion this season.

In fact on Tuesday night a 1-0 defeat in Dortmund meant that Roberto Mancini’s men finished bottom of their Champions League group and failed to qualify for the Europa League knockout stages.

Blessing

Not qualifying for the Europa League may well be a blessing in disguise for the underachieving English champions. The City players really didn’t look motivated in defeat in Dortmund.

City can now concentrate on their efforts to retain their Premier League title. The Citizens owners must be asking questions though about why City have again failed to make it out of the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Crucial

Manchester City host arch-rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in one of the defining fixtures of the season. The game could be crucial to how City’s season turns out.

Unconvincing

Despite Manchester City being second in the Premier League the champions haven’t been convincing at all this season. Their performance in the Champions League was awful, considering the amount of money the club have spent in the past few years.

City may be picking up victories in the Premier League, but in a lot of their games this season they have looked unconvincing.

Underachieving

Even with a tough Champions League group Manchester City were expected to make it to the knockout stages of the competition. Instead of progressing City have gone backwards in Europe’s elite competition and picked up seven points less than they did in last season’s competition.

I have no doubt that Manchester City are underachieving. I don’t want to harp on about money, but the Citizens have spent a fortune becoming top dogs in England and expected European domination to follow.

Unfortunately, the team just don’t seem to be able to produce on the big European nights. The expensively assembled City squad have proved to be European lightweights.

History

City boss Roberto Mancini has a history of underachieving in the Champions League. When in charge of Italian giants Inter the Nerazzurri underperformed in Europe’s elite competition, but dominated Serie A without much challenge.

This sounds familiar as the Italian is doing exactly the same at City. Mancini seems unable to motivate players well enough to compete against the European big boys. When Mancini left, Jose Mourinho took over at Inter and within a few seasons the Italian club were European champions.

Signings

Instead of bringing in talent of the highest order this summer City signed second grade players, that’s no disrespect to the players Mancini brought in, but they are hardly world class performers.

Mancini brought in Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia, Matija Nastasic, Maicon and Scott Sinclair in the summer. None of the new arrivals have looked particularly impressive so far this campaign. Nastasic has put in some promising performances, but is still a very young player.

I couldn’t understand some of City’s ins and outs this summer. Dutch international midfielder Nigel De Jong left for AC Milan and Jack Rodwell came in. Nobody in their right mind could say that the former-Everton youngster is a better player than De Jong and the England international has spent most of his time at City in the treatment room.

England international winger Adam Johnson left for Sunderland and Scott Sinclair arrived at the club from Swansea. Again Sinclair isn’t an improvement on the former-Middlesbrough star.

Nastasic arrived at the club from Fiorentina in exchange for compatriot Stefan Savic, who had failed to impress at the Etihad Stadium. This was probably City’s best move of the summer.

Brazilian full-back Maicon’s arrival from Italian giants Inter came a year or two too late. The full-back still has some of the ability that made him one of the best in the world, but he is well past his best.

Manchester City have come a long way in the past few years. However, this summer the progress stalled and City have failed to move to the next level.

Lucky

Manchester City are fortunate that their rivals are also struggling for a decent level of consistency this season. The likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have failed to move forward this season.

Manchester City haven’t progressed and neither have any their Premier League, but City may well still win the Premier League title. The big question is how long the City owners will be willing to wait for Roberto Mancini to discover a winning formula in Europe.

I don’t think it will be long and boss Roberto Mancini will pay the price for the lack of progress, and rightly so. It currently looks like the Italian isn’t capable of delivering what everybody at City expects. With Man City being lucky their rivals are under performing, maybe their luck will be in at poker.betfair.com too. A few hands of poker could see them back to winning ways and boost confidence.

Have Manchester City moved forward this season?

Fri 7 December, 2012
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