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Published on December 21st, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman

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“Right direction” | Ian Cheeseman

What a wonderful few weeks it’s been. Since the comeback win against Bayern Munich, City have hit top gear, despite the injury problems that have tested the resources available to Manuel Pellegrini. Ability and tactics make a huge difference in any sport, but confidence is a bigger ingredient than most give credit for.

I believe there are certain key games, even key moments within games that have a big effect on individual or collective psychology. Even in the summer, when I relax in front of the TV watching the tennis at Wimbledon, I can sense the key points (I’m sure you can too) or the moments when an incident or a point changes things. It happens in cricket, a bowler gets a wicket with a clever delivery and suddenly he tries things he might not always try, which then come off, and the confidence “snowball” gathers momentum. Equally a set back of being beaten when you know you’ve just done the very best you can, can be shattering.

In any walk of life, positivity breeds confidence, while negativity can be damaging. Praise and appreciation lifts performance (I know that in my own life) and although I don’t see what Manuel Pellegrini does behind the scenes day to day, I get the feeling that he’s supportive and positive, which is always the best approach by management and gets the best from everyone.

City’s victory against Bayern, who came to win and were excellent on the day, renewed the belief that saw City claw back Liverpool’s lead late last season. Although there are other factors, most obviously “Suarez”, the Merseysiders seem to have suffered a major blow, by giving their all and still missing out in the way that they did.

Since the Bayern victory, the Blues have stepped up and dealt with all the setbacks they’ve suffered. As a club, the opening of the new City Football Academy must have made a difference too. I’ve had a tour behind the scenes and it’s amazing, as you’d expect; classy is probably the word.

I was at the FA Youth Cup game against Oxford United on Thursday, and the boy blues totally dominated, there were some great individual performances within a great team ethic. It might seem a clichéd thing to say, but you can see the footballing philosophy throughout the club. I’ve watched quite a few EDS, u19, u18 and City women games, and they’re all a joy to watch; and it goes without saying that the Manchester City first team is dazzling at times.

The most recent of their wins, against Crystal Palace, without a specialist striker, couldn’t fail to impress. Yaya Toure (who’s passing is as good as I’ve ever seen) Samir Nasri & David Silva were on another planet, allied to the unending effort of Zabaleta and Milner etc. City, on and off the field, are on a roll!

Happy Christmas to everyone who reads my blog, to all City fans, football fans in general, and all the best for 2015 – personally I can’t wait for another twelve months of action!

The final Blue Tuesday of 2014 is Tuesday 23rd December, live from the Australian Walkabout Bar in Manchester, when an audience of City fans will look back over the year with me.

You can listen on 95.1Fm or Dab 6-7pm or download the podcast bbc.co.uk/radiomanchester

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