SWANSEA 1, MAN CITY 0
City’s nightmare week continued with a defeat at the Liberty Stadium to a determined Swansea side.
A 0-0 disappointment turned to a horror 1-0 defeat that left some City fans in tears as they watched Stefan Savic give the ball away in the 83rd minute and his fellow defenders gave Swansea time and space to counter attack.
Wayne Routledge found unmarked sub Luke Moore and his header broke the deadlock with a header while City were in disarray.
It was almost too late to throw the kitchen sink at the Swans but Micah Richards thought he had earned an equaliser with a back post header as the game went into added time but assistant referee Sian Massey got her offside call spot-on and the goal was chalked off
Roberto Mancini paid tribute to their hosts’ tenacity but bemoaned his side’s lack of cutting edge, with several players missing injured and the team selected today off-key against the home side’s confident possession football:
“They played very well for the first 30 minutes, aggressive and lots of possession but we had the control of the game in the second half and had chances to score but we didn’t.
“It was a mistake for the goal. We had chances on the counter attack, if we don’t score, like against Sporting, you can pay with a goal by making a mistake.
“We need to start scoring again, and we are in second position now. The lead can change every game but it is important to start winning and scoring again.
“All the players in this moment are tired, but we have a lot of energy to go top again and there are 10 games to play.”
Mancini had been forced to make a succession of changes thanks to injuries sustained by Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott during the Sporting Lisbon game last week and their replacements Kolo Toure and Stefan Savic looked woefully short of the confidence and standards set by Lescott and Kompany.
Joe Hart had earlier made amends for his own mistake in bringing down Wayne Routledge in the 7th minute by saving Scott Sinclair’s penalty after diving the right way to palm his poorly stuck penalty away.
The let-off was a signal that Swansea were not to be taken lightly but once again City struggled to find form away from the Etihad Stadium with their attacking players labouring and their lack of cutting edge was punished by the side who they cut to ribbons at the start of the season.
So abject was City’s early performance that Mancini opted to make a change before half time, with a visibly upset Gareth Barry was withdrawn after just 38 minutes for Sergio Aguero with Yaya Toure asked to curb his attacking in favour of a more withdrawn role alongside Nigel de Jong.
Unfortunately, City continued to flounder against Swansea’s discipline and their own poor finishing.
A repeat performance against Sporting Lisbon will knock City out of the Europa League and with the domestic title race in danger of falling apart Mancini has to raise his troops for a crucial month of games that could decide his future as Man City boss.
Having dropped only 2 points in the opening twelve games, City have now dropped sixteen from the last sixteen games and with United now back on the top of the Barclays Premier League for the first time since the 15th of October Mancini knows that City will have to win every game from now until the end of the season including Chelsea and United at home, and Arsenal away to make sure of winning this season’s title.