Ex-Manchester City and Liverpool player Steve McManaman has praised Roberto Mancini for his attempts to introduce more variety into his Manchester City team in the early stages of this season.
Having led City to the Premier League title last season, City have begun rather slowly and have looked defensively fragile in not keeping a clean sheet to date so far in this campaign. Mancini has been criticised for experimenting with what had been a successful team, switching personnel and at times even switching from the 4-2-3-1 formation that brought City their recent success, to a three-man defence that has brought mixed results, with their defeats in the Bernabeu and at home to Aston Villa in the League Cup this week cases in point.
However, speaking to the Manchester
“You need to be able to change your system in and out of games,” said McManaman, who moved to the Etihad in 2003. “I think that’s what Chelsea have done this year. Chelsea played very narrow last year and this year they’ve gone out and changed their team around completely. It doesn’t surprise me that City have gone in a different way. They’re involved in the Champions League where they came unstuck at times last year.”
McManaman cited Barcelona’s struggles against the likes of Chelsea last season as they rigidly stuck to their preferred formation without the so-called “Plan B” to call upon.
“Even the best teams struggled last year,” continued McManaman. “Even Barcelona struggled against Chelsea because they couldn’t mix it up. They played one way and if it wasn’t working they weren’t able to try something else. They continued to go down the middle and couldn’t break Chelsea down.”
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