Published on November 22nd, 2015 | by Daniel Cheeseman3
“Puzzled” | Ian Cheeseman
My Dad taught me, when I was a young boy, to try to see both points of view in an argument or debate, and generally that philosophy has stood me in good stead.
For over twenty years I’ve made a living as a journalist, a profession that relies on objectivity and being able to see both points of view. I seem to have done ok with journalism, I’m still in a job and on a couple of occasions I’ve proudly received awards for my efforts.
However, and this is a big however, I’m struggling to see Manuel Pellegrini’s side of the debate that has been raging on social media about what went wrong for City against Liverpool.
I only have a few moments to ask questions to the City boss after games, and can only chip in once the national radio networks have kicked things off. They pay more money so have the right to do that.
The big question after the 4-1 defeat – and I’d seen many fans asking the same on Twitter – was why had Fernandinho and Otamendi not started against Liverpool?
My opening question was, “What was the reason Fernandinho didn’t start, he’s had such a good season?” Here was the answer from the City boss, “I don’t want to talk about who started and who didn’t start. Fernandinho was coming from a long journey from South America but it is not a problem for one day.”
I followed up with, “so you’re happy with the eleven you started with?” Manuel’s response was, “yes, yes, if you ask me, I would repeat with the same starting eleven”
That response puzzles me. We can debate what the problems were against Liverpool, and I’ve seen various theories argued very eloquently. One fan on Twitter insisted to me that Joe Hart was a big part of the problem. I’ll quote one of his tweets, “He has been the problem since Mancini realised he had to ditch him. Yesterday was a malaise. Hart is a disease.” Strong words, but that’s what you get when the team suffers it’s heaviest home defeat since moving into the Etihad Stadium.
I spoke, off the record, to a former England defender, who described Eliaquim Mangala as the worst defender he’s ever seen.
There have been plenty saying Yaya Toure is the problem, that he’s too slow, with Fernando also being mentioned in similar tones.
A guy I respect as a top quality coach texted me today to suggest that “the most obvious problem in the first half was Aguero”
I could go on, because there are more theories as to why City were beaten so heavily than players in the first team squad.
For now I’ll keep my theories to myself, but what I’m certain of is that the team on Saturday was not the eleven I would have started with, nor was it the right formation, in my opinion. Sky’s Gary Neville suggested that Pellegrini should have made substitutions after twenty minutes, but didn’t want to upset the team by making such a strong statement so early in the game.
At half time he brought on Delph and Fernandinho, who in my opinion, went on to be City’s best two players in the second half.
What really puzzles me are those answers to my questions from the Blues boss.
“I’d repeat the same starting eleven” were his words. Is his answer for the reason Gary Neville suggests? Does Manuel really believe those words or was that simply the emotion of speaking straight after such a heavy defeat?
I don’t know the answer, do you?