Pep Guardiola has to take responsibility for Wednesday night’s exit from the Champions League.
The buck always stops with the manager because you can’t get rid of 10 players in one go. I thought they’d progressed over the last few weeks.
However, their lack of awareness in the lead up to Monaco’s first goal when Fernandinho got caught 20 yards out is frightening.
These mistakes should only happen once a season. Top teams make them very rarely, but they crop up on a weekly basis at City. You could see Guardiola shaking his head and he must be really questioning some of his players. I’m just stunned by the naivety they show time-after-time.
People have a go at John Stones, but this malaise runs through the whole team. Sure he makes errors, but he’s not getting any support from Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov playing next to him.
They’re very good players in their own right, but their all past their best. The big problem at City is everyone is looking after themselves, maybe because they’re struggling with their own performances. They just don’t help each other enough.
John Stones has been hung out to dry in all of this. He’s got to learn quickly, but it’s a big step up for him. It’s all too easy to jump on the bandwagon and say ’£50m, what’s all the fuss about?’
He’s a very capable player, but he’s desperately in need of guidance – but he’s not getting any!
This is the problem Man City have got now, they haven’t anyone at the back to be a leader for the team. By all means criticise Stones for his errors, but don’t go overboard on the lad’s genuine ability.
Pep may now be leaning towards a cull of his defence in the summer because he’s seen these guys have given goals away for the last eight months now. They will be changes at the club in the very near future I believe, but the main question for Guardiola now is will he stick with his playing philosophy?
My belief is Pep won’t change his approach and that he’s going to find it very hard in the Premier League and the Champions League.
If you look at the teams he’s managed before, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, their whole thing was that they suffocated opponents with possession. In the Premier League you can’t do that, because the game is played at a quicker pace and it is more competitive.
I doubt he can win either of these competitions in the future if he continues trying to play the way they’re playing now.
There’s no way this team are as good as his Barca and Bayern outfits ever were.
If I was Jurgen Klopp ahead of Sunday’s game, I’d be thinking ‘these guys are the same as us’. They’re decent going forward, but at the back there’s huge gaps.
Both clubs lack balance – City not quite as much as Liverpool. The Blues are a point better off in the table and have a game in hand. But, it’s a massive opportunity for Liverpool to sow a seed of doubt in their opponent’s minds and make a statement.
Liverpool can’t afford to lose in the hunt for a top four place because they could go seven points behind, if City win their game in hand. Liverpool won’t make up that deficit.
I expect them to press high at the start against Man City to hunt another mistake, especially as the Citizens will be a bit fragile and possibly low on confidence. The Reds will hassle the home side and make it as awkward as possible for them. While I wouldn’t say it’s a must win for Pep, it’s certainly a ‘must not lose’ for Liverpool.
City won’t want to lose either as things can go awry very quickly for them if they do. Manchester City has always been a volatile club. I thought they’d be fine under Guardiola, but then again it’s City!
The easy angle is to say there’ll be goals because of both teams’ defensive frailties, but it’s time now for both of them to learn. I can see a low-scoring game because at some stage both sides have got to be a more cautious.
Liverpool would certainly take a draw. After City’s midweek showing they’d probably take it as well – I’m going for a 0-0 or 1-1.