All the headlines from last night’s game between Bayern Munich and Manchester City have been based around Carlos Tevez, and his apparent refusal to take to the pitch when requested to by his manager.
Mancini said he refused to come on, as in the heat of the moment he was lead by the media into the next days headlines and seemed happy to oblige. As did everyone else in the world of football, lashing out at Tevez even before they knew any facts surrounding the whole saga. Tevez says he didn’t refuse to come on, well he would wouldn’t he. ”In Munich on Tuesday I had warmed up and was ready to play”, said the Argentine, but everyone has already made their mind up about this and decided Tevez should be put in the stocks at the newly refurbished Etihad punishment centre in Drolysden.
Maybe what people should be focusing on is the awful tactical decisions made by Mancini throughout the match.
He had to start Tevez in this game. If he got tired due to lack of match fitness then fine, bring him off in the second half and let Mario have a run round, or even get De Jong on to sure things up if you’re hanging on to a result. Even in his sulky phases, Tevez is a player who will close the opposition down more determinedly than many of the other highly paid egos in the Manchester City team, and this was something they needed in last nights game.
Then there were the substitutions. Mancini alienated his entire forward line with one substitution when he removed Dzeko from the field and replaced him with a defensive midfielder in the shape of Nigel De Jong, at 2-0 down. It was almost as if he’d given up and was looking to give De Jong a bit of match fitness as he returns from injury. The players seemed to have higher ambitions even at 2-0 down as Dzeko showed his disgust at being removed, Aguero seemed to appeal for help, Tevez zipped his tracksuit up (a blatant show of dissent), and Balotelli returned to playing games his mobile phone.
So surely the next lot of substitutions would be more attacking? Not so. The ineffective Barry, who is getting the Champions League football he always demanded whilst at Aston Villa but not doing very well at it, was taken off and replaced by another left back (What? Barry pretends he’s a midfielder now?) Aleksandar Kolarov. Then Nasri who no one knew was on the pitch was replaced by James Milner, as Mancini looked to hold on to the 2-0 defeat.
In amongst these minor events was the main event, where Tevez had a quick chat with one of the Manchester City staff, and then sat down in his seat zipping his tracksuit top up yet again! The cheek of it all. He even had the gall to talk to his team mates on the bench.
If Tevez did refuse to come on, then surely the next option would have been Balotelli, but he didn’t come on either (luckily for him as he achieved a high score on Angry Birds, a memorable night), so this adds more confusion to Mancini’s claims.
Roberto Mancini tasted defeat in a game which was supposed to be set up for him and his Manchester City team to announce their intentions and prove to Europe, and more importantly their Manchester rivals, that they are to be taken seriously when they talk of winning the big prizes. Instead Mancini was embarrassed by his players and his own inept tactical decisions, and which of these two things will hurt the manager more? Obviously the latter, but instead he deflected all of the blame onto an easy target, and everyone else followed him.
Sounds like sour grapes to me.