As the final whistle echoed through Wembley, there was strangely a sense of calmness in Pep’s eyes. I strongly feel that this defeat would not have hurt him as much as the pundits and media made of it. By now, you might be thinking that i am out of my mind and writing rubbish. But, if you look at City’s upcoming schedule and take into account what happened at Atletico, this was the best team Pep could have put out on the field. Yes, we lost the match only due to individual mistakes and poor finishing, but we should actually be much happier than we are for the way we navigated this week.
These were my priorities at the start of this week:
- Get through to the Champions League semi finals
- Don’t concede ground to Liverpool in the title race
- Get to the FA cup final
So, looking at the complete week, i must say that it’s a job very well done. We have avoided all of the worst case scenarios and have destiny in our own hands in both the Premier League and Champions League. It would be very unfair to just look at the FA cup match and get lost in all of this criticism drama created by the media.
I know the defeat hurts, but looking at the overall picture, i guess that was the only game we could have afforded to lose. The theatrics at Atletico did influence the selection and the upcoming fixture pile up meant that Pep had to gamble with his squad selection. For people criticizing Pep regarding the selection of Steffen, we should remember that Ederson was put under the pump against Atletico and it would have been mentally draining on him to start against Liverpool. I thought he had got the squad right. It was individuals that let us down.
Also, Pep knows that he needs to have a perfect month to retain the title and the schedule is ruthless as ever. So, i think he saw this tie as a window of opportunity to rest many players and give people like Zinchenko some game time.
At the start of the week, most of us would have taken the results we had in the last 7 days. To be honest, the week could have gone much worse than just that semi final defeat. There was a genuine possibility of our season being over at the end of this week. We should be happy that we are still alive and kicking in both the major competitions.
Instead of dwelling over that solitary defeat to Liverpool, let us look at how we overcame an Atletico onslaught in difficult away conditions and how we almost had Liverpool on the ropes for much of Premier League game. Let us look forward to next week seeking delight in the fact that we have destiny in our own hands