Pellegrini powerless to act on Pep’s talk – Bayern Munich 1 Man City 0

As debate rages on over the rights and wrongs of Manchester City’s desperately unlucky Champions League defeat in Munich, the influence of Manuel Pellegrini becomes ever more apparent.

The post match inquest has seen social media platforms and the mainstream ‘press’ comparing and contrasting the fortunes of key personnel in the City team, but there has been little or no focus on the ramifications of Pellegrini’s enforced absence from the touchline.

Frustration - Pellegrini was unable to help his team once the match with Bayern was underway. Courtesy@MCFC

Frustration – Pellegrini was unable to help his team once the match with Bayern was underway. Courtesy@MCFC

Joe Hart has been universally lauded for his heroic efforts, before he was cruelly beaten by Jerome Boateng’s deflected last minute shot. Joe had been the pivotal figure as the Blues went agonisingly close to snatching the point merited by a valiant defensive performance.

Brave Hart - Joe performed brilliantly and never threw the towel in. Courtesy@MCFC

Brave Hart – Joe performed brilliantly and never threw the towel in. Courtesy@MCFC

Yaya Toure has been the polar opposite, incurring the wrath of many City fans, exasperated by his inability, or apparent unwillingness, to put in the proverbial shift, as befits a truly world class player.

So much has been said and written about City’s talisman of last season, fuelled by the Ivorian’s summer of madness and sadness, losing the plot over birthday cakes and, tragically, his younger brother to cancer.

No show - Yaya made little or no impact throughout the game. Courtesy@MCFC

No show – Yaya made little or no impact throughout the game. Courtesy@MCFC

But it falls to an unlikely figure, Phillip Lahm, Bayern’s skipper, to lend insight as to why Munich finally triumphed.

Germany’s World Cup winning captain admitted that his team were ‘chasing shadows’ in the opening exchanges at the Allianz Arena, before Pep Guardiola instigated tactical changes.

With Pellegrini serving the second of his two-game UEFA touchline ban and banished to the stand, the City boss was denied access to his players and unable to counter Guardiola’s on-field alterations.

Last gasp losers - City's hopes were cruelly dashed in the 90th minute. Courtesy@MCFC

Last gasp losers – City’s hopes were cruelly dashed in the 90th minute. Courtesy@MCFC

That’s not to denigrate the efforts of Ruben Cousillas and Brian Kidd, but there are reasons why Manuel is The Engineer and the pair are his assistants.

There have been preposterous rants in the media that City lack a manager with any type of pedigree in the Champions League. Such utterances show the ignorance of guttersnipes who just love to hate City.

It’s an ill-founded and malicious accusation.

Pellegrini over achieved during his time with unfancied Villarreal, taking them to both the semi finals and quarter finals of the CL.

Winner - malicious elements in the media  are trying to undermine Manuel.

Winner – malicious elements in the media are trying to undermine Manuel.

More recently with Malaga, he was denied a second CL semi-final in 2013, when Borussia Dortmund scored two goals in added time – both offside – to cheat the Spanish underdogs.

This was the same Dortmund side who had totally outplayed City at the Etihad in the group stages, before a Mario Balotelli penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw after what many consider was Joe Hart’s finest ever goalkeeping display – better even than Wednesday night.

Arguably, with Pellegrini’s input, City might have made it over the line in Munich.

The Joe Show - Hart clears City's lines in Munich. Courtesy@MCFC

The Joe Show – Hart clears City’s lines in Munich. Courtesy@MCFC

On the balance of play, the purists could argue that Bayern were worthy winners with 21 goal attempts compared to City’s seven, and Hart called upon to make a string of stunning saves, not least from a 35-yard howitzer of a shot from Boateng in the 87th minute.

Bayern made numerous bogus penalty claims, none more so than substitute and serial offender Arjen Robben, surely a gold medal prospect for the Dutch Olympic Diving Team in 2016.

Thomas Muller, as brilliant and technically gifted as he is, could have been trained by the Royal Shakespeare Company, such were his over theatrical offerings.

Dive dive dive - Robben prepares to go to ground challenged ny James Milner in Munich. Courtesy@MCFC

Dive dive dive – Robben prepares to go to ground challenged ny James Milner in Munich. Courtesy@MCFC

True, Fernandinho undeniably handled the ball in City’s penalty area in the second half, but it was as clear a case of ‘ball to hand’ as you will ever see.

The one penalty appeal of the night with any credence was that of David Silva when Bayern debutant centre back, Mehdi Benatia, clearly fouled City’s Spanish maestro.

Benatia was strongly linked with a move to City from Roma all summer long, before Pellegrini eventually landed his preferred target of Eliaquim Mangala.

Tough night - Sagna stepped in for the suspended Zabaleta. Courtesy@MCFC

Tough night – Sagna stepped in for the suspended Zabaleta. Courtesy@MCFC

Perversely the Moroccan defender made his mark in a match where City’s £32m centre back once again stayed on the bench.

Pre-match speculation suggested the ex-Porto defender would partner Vincent Kompany, but veteran Martin Demichelis won the vote.

The pair defended resolutely enough, but City’s weakness on the night came down the flanks with full backs Sagna and Clichy struggling with Bayern’s wing play.

Valiant defence - Captain Kompany and his men couldn't quite hold on in the Allianz Arena. Courtesy@MCFC

Valiant defence – Captain Kompany and his men couldn’t quite hold on in the Allianz Arena. Courtesy@MCFC

Even at the death, substitute Sergio Aguero so nearly stabbed home an equaliser, but his attempt went the wrong side of Manuel Neuer’s post.

Clearly it wasn’t City at their best. The same should be said of Bayern. City were missing key players Zabaleta, Fernando and Jovetic. Munich were minus the quality of Ribery, Schweinsteiger and Martinez.

Having come so close to taking a point in what, on paper, appears the most difficult match in their qualification campaign, City should take heart from what lies ahead.

So close - Edin's curling shot nearly gave City a first half lead. Courtesy@MCFC

So close – Edin’s curling shot nearly gave City a first half lead. Courtesy@MCFC

Roma destroyed CSKA 5-1 but, as tough as the remaining five fixtures will be, this is not the proverbial Group of Death.

City are very capable of harvesting 13, possibly 15, points and winning it outright. Any talk of only being left to battle it out for second spot with the Italians is puerile.

Pellegrini does however, need to extract more from his players if they are to pose any genuine threat in the knockout stages.

Only those wearing spectacles of a deepest sky blue hue would think City capable of beating the best of Europe’s best at present.

Tireless - Fernandinho did a double shift in City's midfield. Courtesy@MCFC

Tireless – Fernandinho did a double shift in City’s midfield. Courtesy@MCFC

It would be all too easy for City supporters to be contaminated by an insidious media, hell-bent on undermining both Pellegrini as an individual, and City as a collective.

Lest we forget it was the same scenario last season when Liverpool won the title in mid-April and Manuel wasn’t up to the task – yeah right, that’s how it played out didn’t it?

Loud & proud - Joe is always busy when he plays against German teams. Courtesy@MCFC

Loud & proud – Joe is always busy when he plays against German teams. Courtesy@MCFC

Too many people are too quick to rush to judgement. It’ll be a different picture come December 11th when City go into the draw for the knockout Round of 16 as the winners of Group E.


By David Walker @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. September 19, 2014  3:55 am by Simon Wilson Reply

    Insightful as always. Yaya was definitely off; looked lethargic and I am being kind. Silva was super once again; had that header gone in and not to mention a stone cold penalty late on. Your observations about the lads missing MP are spot on. Maybe with the Chelea visit we will see his true "engineering" best!

    • September 19, 2014  3:59 am by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope so because for all of my optimism in the wake of Wednesday night we need to beat Chelsea, a draw would be disappointing and a defeat would be a bloomin' disaster.

  2. September 19, 2014  4:16 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Glad to see you are optimistic. I think that the Roma game at home is now a "must win". If we don't get a result, it will be virtually impossible to get out of the group.
    What was your take on Yaya? Watching on the television, he looked like he was just going through the motions. I distinctly remember one moment about halfway through the second half when Bayern regained the ball and pushed forward, and Yaya was strolling towards the Bayern goal rather than dropping back to help defend. That moment just summed it all up for me.

    • September 19, 2014  7:31 am by David Walker Reply

      Totally agree, the Italian Job on September 30 is vital, if we fluff our lines it will be very difficult to make progress. That said, I've every confidence we will get at least four wins and a draw from our remaining fixtures. As for Yaya, I showed restraint in the article rather than go with the general consensus. I won't go overboard now, but clearly it wasn't good enough and he has to sort out whatever is going on and reducing him to a virtual spectator. A similar showing against Chelsea will spark a very very angry backlash from City fans.

  3. September 19, 2014  6:00 am by Simon Wilson Reply

    Actually he showed more movement greeting Pep after it was all over. Sounds peevish, I know, but not the Yaya we expect. A big player for big games …. Marauding and merciless; that's the YT we need to see!

    • September 19, 2014  7:37 am by David Walker Reply

      It certainly didn't look good to the fans after such an insipid 'effort'. Two differing points of view here; 1) the game was over, why wouldn't Yaya be cordial to an old friend and colleague 2) he wasn't 'hurting' sufficiently after his team had just lost a vital encounter, compounded by the fact he'd done very little to help his team. My instinct was to savage his 'performance'but I'm keeping the old powder dry until after the Chelsea game.Let's see if the Yaya of last season can be bothered to show up?

  4. September 19, 2014  7:06 am by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Good read as always Dave. The boys done good & nearly snatched a draw but to be fair we can't deny Bayern deserved there win. They are a superb team. But every man bar one can hold there heads up high we can still do this. What is going on inside Yaya head he needs to sort himself out & quickly.

    • September 19, 2014  7:41 am by David Walker Reply

      The worry was that we didn't cause Bayern enough problems and despite the great defensive effort 'we' didn't work hard enough to close down space and pressurise Bayern when they had possession. It owed more to a lack of a work ethic in some quarters than to a lack of talent. Let's not forget that Bayern Munich away is a tough challenge at any time. Much was made of them having big players out, but we shouldn't under estimate the influence of Zabaleta and the pivotal role that Fernando would have had.

  5. September 19, 2014  8:30 am by guy Burke Reply

    My hopes for a draw were very nearly realized, it would have been fortunate but gratefully received none the less, i feel yaya is being made very much the scapegoat for that defeat, several players like him had an off night and the incident with pep has been blown totally out of proportion.Sunday is a welcome chance to get the season back on track, City are more than capable of victory and can take heart from the fact that Chelsea were far from impressive this week also . Finally what a performance from Joe Hart again on Wednesday, all yesterdays papers no doubt had minimum double page spreads after another imperious display in Europe from the big man ?

    • September 19, 2014  8:39 am by David Walker Reply

      To some degree Yaya has brought a lot of this on himself through his actions in recent months. He was always going to have to do something especially well to rekindle the esteem in which he was previously held. Thus far this season he has failed to deliver. The Chelsea game - as indeed the Bayern game did - gives him the platform to show his true worth to the club and supporters. Once again we shouldn't get sucked in to the Mourinho hype - as you say, we are quite capable of beating Chelsea. As for Joe, he so often gets criticism when he does make mistakes, it's absolutely right that he gets the recognition when he performs his heroics. I'll never forget Dortmund at home and also Spurs away on the opening day of 2010-11, 0-0 draw, it would have 4-0 Spurs if it hadn't been for Joe.

  6. September 19, 2014  8:58 am by Neil M Reply

    Yaya definatley deserved his criticism and as Guy Burke stated several players where off. Samir Nasri put in a better performance than Yaya, but his overall game this season in fact since his injury at Newcastle last season hasn't been his best. Edin has been working hard but hasn't found his scoring boots from last year, zero goal return that is now effectively costing us, I thought the rest of the team played well.

    One big question, why is James Miller always being overlooked, this squad needs him and we need to tie him into a new contract. Failling to start him in game may scupper him signing that new contract and that'll be a big mistake by the club

    • September 19, 2014  4:11 pm by David Walker Reply

      City certainly haven't been firing on all cylinders so far this season and so much of it is being blamed on the malaise of the World Cup...but that's now two months ago. Holidays have been had and the players cannot have suddenly become unfit so it doesn't really stack up with me. As for Milner, yes we want to keep him but I fear that probably isn't going to happen. Arsenal but more likely Liverpool want him, I think it's more a question of whether we try and bank £7m in Jan or let him go for free at season's end. I would like him to stay that's for sure.

  7. September 19, 2014  9:15 am by guy Burke Reply

    Very true about yaya bringing a lot of this on himself, my one criticism of the management so far this season is the lack of a settled side and in particular the back 4 , i am wondering when exactly mangala will get a start , Vinny has been consistent as ever and martin does not deserve to be dropped ?

    • September 19, 2014  4:14 pm by David Walker Reply

      I thought he was going to start in Munich. Certain intel suggested as such but no. VK and MDM now work very well together but Mangala has to be the not-too-distant future, albeit at £32m, you'd expect him to be the here and now. It's a long tough season and I'm sure he'll see plenty of game time

  8. September 19, 2014  9:20 am by Kevin Quinlan Reply

    Enjoyed reading your article. It was also interesting to see the team photo you posted - the guys look reasonably determined ahead of the game except for Yaya who looks distinctly unhappy. I understand City confirmed he had no injury concerns so there doesn't seem to be any reason for his lethargic performance. His apparent attitude worries me because of the effect it could have on the rest of the team; it's never good for team spirit to have a colleague who is more highly paid than most and puts in so little effort. I thought the birthday cake nonsense reflected badly on Toure and his claims about City refusing him compassionate leave were a slur on our club. I hope his petulance hasn't led to any resentment in the rest of the team as it could affect the way others play as we still seem to be patchy in team performances so far. It's still early season and we can still get it together.

    I also thought it was a mistake to substitute Navas for Kolorov. Navas had been doing well in front of Sagna and Kolorov never seems to want to do his "day job" defending. He was on the wrong side of the pitch when Boateng's shot came in when he could have been marking him.

    Hope we turn them over at the Etihad - we are good enough!

    • September 19, 2014  4:16 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for the feedback. Good observations on Yaya and an interesting take on Navas and Kolarov. In fairness to Ruben you'd think putting on a fresk AK47 on to see out the draw made sense, but yes, he was AWOL when Boateng struck the winner. Early days but we really could do with dumping Chelski on Sunday and we are capable.

  9. September 19, 2014  12:42 pm by Guvnor Reply

    the report was very Insightful again David. I am looking forward to the game on Sunday, negativity again from Sky and the rest of the media.. Let us hope YaYa turns up this week. My final point is Mr Mangala, how will he get his fitness to play, when he is not playing for any of our sides?

    • September 19, 2014  4:18 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Guv - yes, Yaya needs to get his act together. As for Mangala, I'm sure he'll be involved soon enough, if not Sunday, you'd expect a debut against Sheffield Wednesday next week.

  10. September 19, 2014  3:00 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    We dreamt of a win, hoped for a draw, and maybe, just maybe, didn't expect to lose
    I will just add my comments on the media hype etc surrounding Ya Ya Toure.
    I discount all the comments from non City ex players, eg Paul Scholes for instance, who are getting in their 2 pennysworth to fill in newspaper space or sports radio shows - whatever.
    Ya Ya did have a poor game and disappeared in the second half, and thankfully Jimmy Milner came on and as always "did a shift".
    Unfortuneatly "cakegate" is still with us and it will it rear it's head whenever Toure is not at his best.
    On these pages last season I criticised Ya Ya because in one game whenever he lost the ball he spent 5 minutes sitting down with his arms in the air. He is an enigmatic character - Awesome when he is "on blob" but sometimes laconic and that style can intimate disinterest.
    His smiles and hugs with Pep is really a load of nonsense he knows the guy so why not acknowledge him and have a chat.
    In the distant past when I strutted my stuff at Hough End - at the end of a game, whether I had a good game or bad game (usually the latter) I would have joke and chat with the annoyingly fast winger saying "See you in the Town Hall Tavern at 8.30). Toure's chat with Pep is of no consequence at all.
    Yes we should have had a penalty but to be fair to the referee when it happened I thought it was a good tackle and it was only having the advantage of re-runs that it was shown to be a wrong decision and again the referee was spot on denying the Robben dying swan act. Why players do this "cheating" is beyond me - show you are the worlds best by your skill alone.
    Having gone on a bit ! :-
    Defence resolute with Sagna not doing a bad job at all
    Dzeko worked hard with little support
    Silva tried to get things going but we only rarely threatened their goal.
    After we had the early Joe Hart super show I did not think that Bayern were going to score as we restricted them mainly to speculative shots and it was only the introduction of Robben that added the extra dynamic Bayern needed
    So onto Chelsea - forget Chumps league for now and let's go for it - and please be at your awesome best Ya Ya !

    • September 19, 2014  4:25 pm by David Walker Reply

      Funny how Scholes goes hrough his entire playing career as a virtual media recluse and now, when there's money to be made, we're treated to his inane words of wisdom and analysis...great. Taken with a pinch of salt. Pre-match I thought we'd win, but as we entered the homestraight the pessimism levels began to get a grip and Gotrze's back did the rest. Easy to see why Boateng will claim it, but no defection and Joe had it covered #DAMN

  11. September 19, 2014  3:39 pm by guy Burke Reply

    Yes just read scholes "insightful" article in a national newspaper calling yaya lazy!!! I have probably seen yaya play in the flesh approx 100 times and Wednesday night was typical of at least three quarters of his performances in a city shirt? Scholes does not appear to be the "brightest bulb in the pack" but articles like this are just sloppy,lazy & mischievous. Funnily enough on the same page he talks about Río and his new book without once mentioning his slating of moyes in the same publication?

    • September 19, 2014  4:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      You do know - I know you do - that Rio did all his own crayoning in his autobiography - he's a very very clever camel.

  12. September 19, 2014  3:41 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    I think there's been a lot of overreaction to Toure, but it's fair to say it wasn't one of his best performances, or nights, in a City shirt.
    Equally as immense as Hart (who got away with one flap at a cross), was Fernie. It's a huge pity that injury sustained against Stoke kept Fernando out of a game he would surely have made a difference in.

    • September 19, 2014  4:32 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yaya is the obvious focus for fans because he is so noticeable, even when doing sweet nothiing. He needs to step it up on Sunday - if selected! Fernandinho worked tirelessly to good effect and Joe was magnificent.. Fernando would have shut Bayern up and we certainly missed him.

  13. September 20, 2014  12:44 am by Glenn Kavanagh Reply

    A deeply depressing game, Munich were miles better than us all over the park...not only to the first but too the second and third Ball too. Fitter stronger better technally, more determined more knowhow etc etc you get the drift. The game should have finished 4 nil at least. There was nothing cruel or unlucky about it. Don't be foolish. They were by miles the superior side. We played like drunken sailors. We couldn't put two passes together, I felt embarrassed watching it. I'm sure that Mr mansour will be far from pool pleased. We have big problems, we were miles off the pace & still play with an inferiority complex. I expect an awful lot more. I don't care who we play against. Shocking watching the desperate lunges & last gasp clearances. I won't do the blue specks folks sorry about that. Manuel is under major pressure now. I don't fancy us to finish second. I don't get all the good marks for sagna, how many times did he run into a Munich player... Loose the ball or pass it backwards??? The 42 & nasri were appalling. I don't like The 42 I think he's a major flute & I won't be changing my mind there any time soon. Its a worry that we are unable to rise to the "next level". Maybe we've peaked folks???.I wouldn't be listening to scholsy. The same player who couldn't tackle for his life & tried to break zabas leg in 2011?? We need to win the next game badly - fernandhino was terrific, he did the job of three men - hats off to him. Hart Had a great game, he still can't kick a ball. I don't know anymore than the next fella. Today's opinion/news is tomorrow's garbage. Still I'm very annoyed by the whole set up against Munich. Were not a pub team.we are meant to be the champions of England - so f*****man up boys asap.

    • September 20, 2014  2:49 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

      Sorry Glenn the only part of your post I agree with is Fernandinho and Hart had brilliant games. Nevertheless shot stopping and kicking accuracy (with either foot) are two of Hart's best attributes!

      We were playing the champions of Germany on their own midden (albeit weakened by injury). We also had players missing and a manager banished to the stands for speaking the truth about a bent Swede (was that Marwood arisen from Hades, sitting on his left?) Apart from the enigmatic Toure, everyone put in a shift. If that meant a few desperate challenges, so what? We certainly never 'parked the bus'!

      We gave as good as we got and were on a par with the 'sausage suckers' during the first half. At half time Guardiola worked out the chances of Dzeko scoring were remote, and so moved his defensive block forward. That gave us a nasty 20 minutes or so. Normal service was resumed with the introduction of Milner and Aguero. A bit of luck and we would have nabbed a point. But Dame Fortune wasn't having any of it and we conceded a late, late fluke. It's a cruel, cruel world.

      Now we need a repeat of our last performance against Chelsea, but we won't get that if we are carrying any passengers. MP isn't over fond of Maureen, so let's wish him (and us) bon chance and a vintage performance on Sunday. Dame Fortune you owe us one!

      • September 21, 2014  12:31 am by David Walker Reply

        Genuinely thought we'd done enough to earn the point. Just beat them 2-0 at our place and I think we could finish top.

    • September 21, 2014  12:28 am by David Walker Reply

      Blimey GK - don't hold back, say what you mean ;-)

  14. September 20, 2014  4:04 am by Simon Wilson Reply

    I threw in a couple of early posts with YT negativity attached. While not thrilled I would love to see him be the difference on Sunday. The good news is any of the lads can be the difference; please do not forget how good we can be. The World Cup excuses (for all teams) are growing a bit tired (not to mention the international break - Brenda), so let's just get on with a great Premier League season. Not to mention Capital One, FA Cup and more Champions League. We are blessed to have this club banging way at them all again. I stress, again. And what about Glenn? It wasn't his prescribed 4 - 0 because you have England's No.1 in front of the onion bag. Remember Dortmund? Occasionally it is what you need. Short sighted me thinks. Semantics aside we are Premier League Champions of England. Gosh, that looks good.

    • September 21, 2014  12:35 am by David Walker Reply

      Yes let's put all the World Cup arguments down the WC now. We've all moved on and, if I was still knackered in September from something I did in June or early July - in my normal professional life - then I think I'd have a serious problem. They're paid and pampered to keep fit ffs!

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