WIGAN ATHLETIC 0, MANCHESTER CITY 2
Two goals in three minutes towards the end of City’s testing game at Wigan saw Roberto Mancini’s side keep up with United at the top of the Premier League with their best start in the league since the 1936/37 season becoming the first Premier League club to avoid defeat in their opening 14 games for two seasons in succession.
Mancini admitted that City had passed a tough test at the DW Stadium.
“To play against Wigan is always difficult because they play very well and it’s always a hard game here.” said Mancini.
“We played very well for the first ten to fifteen minutes but Wigan then played better than us for 20 to 25 minutes.” he explained.
“We changed in the second half and played better and they only shot at goal only once.”
The Italian conceded that City had struggled to find their fluent best against their hosts and accepted that Mario Balotelli’s opening goal, his first league goal since March, was lucky while substitute James Milner’s goal to put City 2-0 up was deserved and lifted the travelling fans although the luckless England midfielder had to be withdrawn shortly after his goal with a hamstring strain.
“Wigan played well and found good positions. The first goal was important because it changed the game. After this everything was good for us and James scored a fantastic goal.
“James has a hamstring injury, I don’t know how long he will be out for.” revealed Mancini.
“I am happy but it’s more important to be at the top at the end of the season.”
“Against Chelsea three days we played very well but didn’t win; today we maybe didn’t play fantastic football but we deserved to win.”
Despite being unbeaten at home, City’s away travels have been mainly problematic with goals harder to come by on the road – their defence has seemed to lack last season’s solidity and their attack appears to be under par too often.
City seemed to be having another one of those games where their opponents were making all the running far too often – Arouna Kone should have scored several times while Jordi Gomez wasted a free kick and couldn’t control a Jean Beausejour cross. City’s players were guilty of a lack of creativity and urgency, leaving Balotelli, back from injury, starved of service and looking disinterested.
The Latics had City on the back foot for much of the match but Balotelli was there to punish an error by Ali Al Habsi in the Wigan goal with just 22 minutes to go and Milner’s rocket sealed the points just three minutes later.