Club Focus – Manchester City – Blues need to prioritise amid Seedorf in, Yaya out rumours

Roberto Mancini suffered his worst night as Manchester City manager at Liverpool on Monday night, yet sympathy amongst Blues supporters has been in short supply in the aftermath of the 3-0 defeat. They say a week is a long time in football. In this case the loss on Merseyside, followed by defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final this Sunday, could mean the Italian is living on borrowed time in the Eastlands hot seat and the euphoria of last week´s 5-0 mauling of Sunderland has been quickly forgotten.

Apart from Mancini´s admission he got his team selection wrong at Anfield, questions are once again being asked about his side´s ability to grind out a result at crucial periods of the season. In that respect his players have been sadly lacking, having been outfought several times this term: the away games at Sunderland (0-1), Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-2), Aston Villa (0-1) and now Liverpool (0-3), with the Carling Cup defeat at West Bromwich Albion (1-2) thrown in for good measure, will be cited as evidence.

While the City boss must be applauded for his honesty in assessing the reasons for the defeat, his acknowledgement of culpability inevitably calls into question where his priorities lie. Fans undoubtedly want the 35-year wait for silverware to come to an end as soon as possible. Even so, the club´s owners, given the choice, would prefer Champions League football to take precedence.

Coach Brian Kidd says he would also choose a top four finish over FA Cup victory. “We all want to win the FA Cup this season and if we get past United we have a great chance,” he said. “I do not want to underplay the cup but it is vital we get a top four place. I am not trying to prioritise or duck anything but a Champions League place gives the club status from a commercial viewpoint.

Nonetheless, plans for a possible tilt at next season´s Champions League carry on regardless, although the latest rumour linking City with a move for 35-year-old Clarence Seedorf will have fans scratching their heads. The Milan midfielder, the only player to have won the trophy with three different clubs (Ajax, Real Madrid and Milan), has not been offered a new contract but insists he has heard rumours regarding a possible transfer. The signing of a player nearing the end of his career will, however, seem a backward step for a club supposedly in progress.

If the Spanish media are to be believed then a replacement will be needed to cover the loss of Yaya Toure. The Ivory Coast international is thought to be top of Jos

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