Roberto Mancini, Manchester City’s embattled manager, likes the way his team performed today, generally dominant in a 2-0 win over Chelsea.
And he’s correct, of course. But that’s the point; Where has more like this been through the long Premiership campaign?
City’s big men did what the visiting counterparts did not – they rose to the moment. Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez scored wonderful goals, and goalkeeper Joe Hart atoned for giving up a penalty kick with an excellent stop on Frank Lampard’s well-hit effort from the spot.
This was a big moment, City’s important victory Sunday. It was big in creating a little breathing room in the table; Mancini’s club is now seven points clear of Chelsea for second place.
But again, where have more like this one been as Manchester United built the 12-point lead that Sir Alex Ferguson’s men now hold?
Mancini isn’t giving up hope. What he said in the flash interview immediately after Sunday’s win at the Etihad.
First of all, we can’t thing that it’s finished with 11 games to go. We can’t think this … It’s not my mentality. We don’t want it. This isn’t in the players’ mentality, and we need to play like today.”
Points for confidence and fighting mentality. But the issue here isn’t just the Sky Blues and whether they can perform as the Big City rather than the Shrunken City, about whether Mancini’s men can string together more of these commanding afternoons.
It’s also about United, which has given no indication that a repeat of last year’s late collapse is a threat.
Even with Robin van Persie’s hip injury – which is not expected to be a long-term injury but must be concerning considering everything the sensational Dutchman means around Old Trafford – you get a feeling that things are under control with United. The schedule favors Ferguson’s men, too, which leaves us to answer the same question …
Where was more like Sunday for the pursuers from Manchester City?