It is not often that a manager cuts a sorry figure and appears dis-satisfied when his team is winning 5-0 in a Champions league knock out game. There was something in the expression of Pep which suggested that the process of winning the game was not according to the style and personality of the City DNA. Also, many people brushed away Pep’s reaction as him micro managing things and looking for ultimate perfection. But, on came the match against Spurs and everything that Pep feared was punished by a masterclass of a counter attacking display from Antonio Conte’s team.
The buildup and game play against Sporting was not good enough
You would think that i am out of my mind reading the title above. But, the amount of time we gave away the ball in that emphatic victory was not acceptable. Even when City went up 2-0, i was like, that was very clinical from us, but on an other day we could easily have been level at 2-2. I was rubbing my eyes in disbelief as to how many times we were giving the ball away in dangerous areas.
Sporting are a great counter attacking team and they have atleast 4 runners on every counter attack. The only difference between Spurs and Sporting was that, Spurs were clinical and Harry Kane put on an absolute masterclass. Yes, we could have salvaged a point against Spurs and we put away Sporting emphatically, but the easy turnover of possesion and the manner in which we managed the games defensively will still be hurting Pep and giving him nightmares.
Also, there are many parallels between that Spurs and Sporting game. We lost the ball in almost similar areas in both the games and we conceeded the same number of one on one opportunities in both the games. Ruthlessness of the opposition team was the only difference between both the results.
We have to protect the ball much better to have any chance of retaining our Premier league title and to go deep in the Champions league. We have come to a point in the season where even a small mistake can ruin our entire season. If we don’t improve our play out of possesion, we could well end up without anything this season.