This is the Hughes situation all over again and frustrates me no end. It's not as if City have a complete team that doesn't require any new players. The 800 pound gorilla in the room is that City need a play maker. I return to my column from August 1st of last year after Elano left the club.
Who is going to pass the ball?
This question wasn't answered by Hughes and the inability of the team to break down opponents and the resulting draws led specifically to the Welshman's downfall. I've been impressed with Mancini's tinkering in a number of matches but just like Hughes the former Inter boss has got it wrong. What is so galling, so utterly frustrating is that the issue is so flaming obvious.
This team will not qualify for the Champions League.
The decision was made, apparently, that with Bridge and Lescott injured that Garrido and Boyata could provide good enough play in the interim and therefore no reinforcements were needed in the transfer window. I disagree and believe that the decision cost the club a trip to Wembley. That Boyata is a find and a good long term prospect in certainly positive, but Garrido was tactically targeted by United in both legs as the obvious suspect link in the defense.
Wembley is gone for now. We can't change that. But the club should be able to put away a club like Hull, it must if it has top six aspirations never mind top four. Mancini has been quoted as being angry at the players when he should be looking at himself. Wrong players, wrong formation, wrong tactics.
Moreover after a turgid first half no substitutions were made at half time. The ineffective Adebayor and Barry should have been replaced by Vieira and Adam Johnson with the club switching to a 4-2-3-1 with Stephen Ireland, again played out of position on the right wing, given the opportunity in the AMC role. Instead belatedly Johnson and Vieira came on and we got to see for the first time the diamond formation with three midfielder enforcers and Adam Johnson given a free reign as the top of the formation.
Johnson did well and Vieira's booking looked more a reputation foul than a bookable offense but Hull never looked like losing. A final few minutes of onslaught brought the chance of a draw however Hull were good value for their three points.
Bottom line, no play maker. There isn't one on the squad and unlike Left Back and Centre Half the club doesn't have a player capable of playing that position returning from injury. Wretched, wretched squad building by the club.
And I take it back about Phil Brown. I said he had lost his team after the Eastland's debacle in late 2008 and I still stand by that. Jimmy Bullard's celebration in the repeat fixture this season and this battling performance show that the former Bolton assistant has well and truly resurrected the combative spirit in Humberside.
City? I like Mancini and absence a Mourinho sighting in the summer I'd like the Italian to stay. City can be a Champions League team under Mancini. Not next year though. Optimism is a good thing and shooting for lofty goals is admirable but if you can't beat Hull City it borders on the naive at best and the downright silly at worst.