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By Doug Higginbottom, Fri 30 September 2011 12:36
As expected hordes of press today, and I saw at least three vans with satellite dishes on top (usually just the one) but as I got into position there was just my old mate Neil (from BlueMoon) perched on the tree watching Mancini on his iPad or whatever. The players filtered out in small groups chatting away and it looked like the same bunch as yesterday, minus Hargreaves, which I heard was precautionary.Usual warm ups and then into keep ball circles with the boss joining in. Maybe he wanted to just get involved and run off some frustration. As they were right next to the fence everything could be heard and the banter was very good as usual. The quiet of yesterday was replaced with plenty of fun and noise. Once Mancini got in the center of the circle there were cries from Micah of "keep him in, keep him in". One Lescott tackle made the boss wince and struggle for a minute, but it was all received in good humour.Whilst this was going on Kolarov was sent off in the other circle as they were getting stuck in as well. A pass and move followed this with goals only to be scored with headers. Goalscorers were mostly defenders but it ended with Micah up top pleading for the ball to be launched for him so he could perform a famous leap. It eventually came and he ended up diving horizontally to head a beauty.Then a break for drinks (none for me sadly as I was cooking!) before Mancini took a team away to another pitch for some preparation work for Saturday. Much of the same stuff as usual both in attacking work and defensive. Not a long session and they all came back together for a game. Defences definitely on top until some confusion between Panti and Savic left Barry a tap in. Followed quickly by another poor clearance which Milner hammered home.Themn came a controversial moment where Nigel was bursting through and apparently fouled by Zaba. Massive appeals as Nigel writhed in agony and a penalty was given by Lombardo (who wasnt really in a great position to give it). Both sides were very loud in appealling or denying the pen but eventually it was confirmed and Dzeko came out of the pack to slot it home after a stutter. Joe wasnt even watching I don't think, so it was taken again by Aguero who scored very well. Nigel was of course fine!The incident clearly upped the ante and the game became extra nosiy and intense as both sides were after the winner. I thought it was 2-1 but Vinnie insisted it was 2-2 so I must have missed one. Both teams were really at it and I reckon Lombardo sensed something so waved across to the boss who signalled the end. Seconds later the final whistle was blown much to the disappointment of the players who wanted golden goal. Nigel was very loud wanting more but went to Lombardo and put his arms round him laughing.Five stayed out for a bit for some free kick practice whilst Savic and Kolo worked separately with coaches on some extra work. Definitely a good upbeat session today so roll on Blackburn.Then on the way home, driving down Harboro Road in Sale and there's this superstar out for a stroll. I got a nice wave back from the legend that is Tony Book.