Sharethematch.com ambassador Andy Gray was talking exclusively to tribalfootball.com…
THE FOUNDATION of Manchester City’s title success last season was a collective defensive responsibility which they are lacking at the moment – and it could be that they are missing Nigel De Jong.
Javi Garcia is new to the team and the Premier League and he may well be finding his feet, and it may be there’s a little weakness there that didn’t exist when De Jong was there.
Costel Pantilimon made some bad mistakes in midweek and in general they’re not defending as well, but you can’t just point the finger at the back four.
I don’t think they’re getting as much protection as they were. The whole team needs to defend better.
I don’t think they’re quite sure who to go with so the sooner they get that sorted the better. It always helps if you’ve got your two centrebacks in place.
I don’t think there are major problems there. They will get back to clean sheets – they’ve got one of the world’s finest goalkeepers in Joe Hart.
There is talk that Roberto Mancini is feeling the pressure but he just has a Latin temperament – he’s fiery, we’ve seen it a few times even with his own players.
You can’t draw conclusions that because he had a little verbal spat with Paul Lambert on the touchline when they played Aston Villa that he’s feeling the pressure.
He’ll be disappointed they’ve gone out of the Capital One Cup and they’ve conceded more goals but it’s early in the season and they’re still on the pace. I don’t think he’ll be too concerned.
Sir Alex Ferguson has been here for 26 years and we tend to forget he’s had plenty of his own little spats.
He’s not slow in coming forward either when he’s got a point to make, and I think Roberto believes he gets away with it a bit more and other managers tend not to argue with him.
It’s not a case of mind games – it would be futile at this point.
A few people have suggested Mario Balotelli is becoming a distraction. Apparently the Carlos Tevez affair and the Mario Balotelli spats were going to cost City the league last season – they didn’t and I think it shows you the character of the players and the manager.
Balotelli is always going to court headlines – he’s a flamboyant character, he’s a strange personality but you accept it and get on with it.
I think Mancini is the best person to control him – he seems to be the only one who can.
I wouldn’t put any stock in the fact that he allegedly pushed him down the tunnel to get him out of the way. They probably laughed it off.
Andy Gray is an official ambassador for Sharethematch.com – Football’s Social Network. Available now for FREE online or at the App Store; http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/share-the-match/id450784289?mt=8