Telegraph: City can have no complaints
- 21 March 2016 07:47
- Posted by @timoscroft
There’s no escaping the fact that reflections on Sunday’s derby defeat for City make grim reading for Blues fans.
But, we will plough on regardless with a selection of what's out there and start with Jason Burt in the Daily Telegraph who, like many a pundit, does not pull his punches.
"Here endeth, also, City’s slender Premier League title hopes. Instead that hope has been replaced by a fear. A fear that City are now in a desperate fight to stave off the challenge of United and West Ham United to claim that fourth Champions League place.
"But City can have no real grounds for complaint. They simply and, quite incredibly given the stakes, did not do enough. There was a smattering of boos at half-time, a few at the end but there was, more than that, a growing sense of frustration inside the stadium that such a talented bunch of players can under-perform like this.
"Yes, captain Vincent Kompany was missed as was Nicolas Otamendi, also injured, and there was a vulnerable centre to City’s defence with Demichelis and Mangala – this was the first time they had played together since the 4-1 defeat to Liverpool here last November - but there were plenty of big players around them. Expensive players. And few of them came out with any credit.”
The Guardian’s Danny Taylor sees the tightening up around the top four as another unwelcome side-effect of the derby that the Blues have to deal with.
“For City, that represents a considerable embarrassment given the various ordeals that Van Gaal has encountered this season and the deception of Manuel Pellegrini’s team starting the season with five straight wins.
“Their deterioration since then is bordering on a full-on slump, with 36 points out of a possible 75, and the latest ordeal was so harrowing for Martín Demichelis it would be no surprise if this was his last appearance in City’s colours.”
There are some glimmers of hope for Manuel Pellegrini, albeit tempered by the reality of an increasingly crowded treatment room at the training ground as BBC Sport's Phil McNulty points out.
“The 62-year-old Chilean has one trophy in his locker in his final season but there will be no Premier League title - he is relying on the Champions League to give the campaign a flourish because a top-four finish should be a given, not a source of celebration.
“Pellegrini has brought Manchester City to the last eight of the Champions League and the draw has been relatively kind as they avoided the big three of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to be paired with Chelsea's conquerors Paris St-Germain.
“It is a tough task - one a City squad firing on all cylinders might just fancy - but right now they are seriously underpowered.”