Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

10 December 2012

Rwanda: Europe Exit a Big Disappointment for City

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After all, money is not always a guarantee that you will win trophies. Manchester City owners yet again realized the bitter truth following the club's failure to reach the Uefa Champions League last 16 last week.

The blues' woes were further compounded by the fact that they also failed to sneak through to the Europa League after finishing last in Group D. Germany and Spain champions, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, progressed to the last 16 after finishing first and second respectively while Ajax, who finished third, progressed into the Europa league.

After the group stage draws, the question was more about who would finish top between City and Madrid but as it turned out heading into the last round of group matches last week, the question was who would secure that Europa league spot between City and Ajax.

City needed to beat Dortmund in Germany and pray that Ajax lose to Real Madrid. Jose Mourinho's men did their part as they put four past Ajax but City let themselves down again as they lost by a solitary goal.

Despite boasting of several world class players in their ranks, City didn't look like they had the conviction to compete against the big sides.

In Germany, Roberto Mancini used 14 international players during this game, which he thought would do the job. Surprisingly, the gulf between them and Dortmund looked immense considering the fact that the German champions had rested some of their top players.

But as the game wore on, it was clear that one team had the will to win while the other didn't. At this point, I knew that if Mancini's intention was to not to play in the Europa League, then City had done a great job. However, if their intention was to win to get into the Europa League, then they had made a fool of themselves because their performance was dreadful to say the least.

But what should worry Mancini even more was the fact that the players didn't seem like they really wanted it. If one didn't know beforehand what their position in the group was, you would have thought that Dortmund's chances were on the line and City had already qualified.

When they lost the ball, they did not work hard to win it back; no pressure on the ball, players playing as individuals as opposed to a team. It was a very disappointing performance from start to finish, apart from the City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

After losing to Ajax a few weeks ago, Mancini said that he knew what the problem was and that he would fix it. Unfortunately, it does not seem that way; on the contrary, they seem to be playing worse and worse.

There are lots of things that don't bode well in this team and if they don't string a couple of wins together in the Premier League, then I'm afraid they have some real problems to deal with.

This also piles more pressure on Mancini who seems not to have a lasting solution to City's problems in Europe. Recent reports linking the 'Special One' Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola to the Etihad Stadium don't seem to be helping much either.

The bottom line is that Mancini has to defend the league title or else, this could be his last season in Manchester.

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