After Manchester City crashed out of the Champions League group stages for the second year in a row, it seems like a good idea to look at five reasons why they simply were not good enough in this tournament.
#1 – Roberto Mancini
Domestically, the Italian is fantastic manager that is sure to deliver a number of Premier League titles at the Etihad if he is given time at the club.
However, in Europe, something is missing. Mancini did not have a good record in the competition with Inter Milan and he certainly doesn’t with Man City.
His decision making was poor, especially in the defeat against at Ajax, where he switched to a back three at 1-1, and saw his side 3-1 down just minutes later.
#2 -Group of death
Let’s not forget that Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are two potential winners of the Champions League this season and Ajax can be a match for anyone of their day.
As soon as the draw was made, it was always going to be tough for City to reach the knockout stages. If they would have switched groups with Manchester United, would they have qualified? Probably.
#3 – Defence
You cannot expect to go far in a tournament of this standard if you have to rely on your goalkeeper making save after save.
Although Joe Hart put in some incredible performance during the campaign, his back four did not give him enough support and there were always going to be times where he could do nothing about the ball hitting the back of his net.
It seems as though Mancini doesn’t quite trust Joleon Lescott in big matches, which is why he opted for 19-year-old Matija Nastasić on a few occasions. If you want to reach the latter stages of the Champions League, you need two strong, demanding and talented centre-backs.
#4 – Pressure
There was a lot of pressure on the Citizens to deliver after what happened this season and in the end, it looks as though that really got to them.
You could sense that fans’ were always nervous and the atmosphere at the Etihad was at times very subdued. It needs to be rocking on a big European night.
Before the tournament started, City were right up there with the favourites to lift the trophy at Wembley, but in truth, they never really looked like qualifying.
When they went must win games, they could not put in the performance needed. City always left themselves with too much to do.
#5 – That night in Madrid
The first encounter of the group stages was where Mancini might look back at the moment that really cost his side.
You simply cannot afford to be 2-1 at the Bernabeu and then lose 3-2 – it is not good enough. Conceding a late equaliser is bound to happen every so often, but two goals in the final stages is poor.
This set the tone for the remainder of the campaign and meant that Man City were always playing catch up. It could have been so different if they had of switched on for those final five minutes in the Spanish capital.