Five things we learnt from Blackburn away
By Ric Turner, Mon 03 October 2011 11:01
1) Mancini has universal backing from the supporters
The atmosphere on Saturday was excellent, and the fans made it abundantly clear that the manager has their full backing after last week's events. Mancini looked genuinely touched by the support he received, and acknowledged the crowd on several occasions. One of the positives that could come out of the Tevez affair is that it galvanises us as a club, with everyone now pulling in the same direction (once the Argentine leaves, of course). The support for Mancini in the media has also been fairly widespread, which hasn't always been the case in the past.
2) Balotelli is starting to blossom
He has had a temperamental start to his City career, but the evidence over the last month or so suggest that Mario Balotelli is beginning to mature, both as a player and a person. His all round performance against Blackburn was excellent, showing great pace and movement which culimated in City's decisive second goal. He played with a smile on his face, and didn't shirk his defensive responsibilites. He deserves an extended run in the team, and hopefully he can begin to fulfill his true potential.
3) Milner needs to play centrally
James Milner impressed once again playing in his favoured central midfield position, and was arguably a contender for man of the match. His workrate and energy give us an extra dimension in midfield, and he is better suited than Barry for games like this. A consumate professional who always gives 100%, he should start more games in my opinion.
4) Squad rotation is vital after Champion's League games
Mancini has frequently talked about the need to freshen up the team after gruelling midweek European games, and did so at Ewood Park by making six replacements. City, of course, went on to win comfortably and the contrast with Fulham away earlier in the season was noticeable. On that occasion only two changes were made, and City threw away a two goal lead as players began to tire. Expect to see further changes in upcoming games as Mancini makes full use of the squad at his disposal.
5) We are seriously short of strikers
With Carlos Tevez unlikely to play for the club again, we are now down to three senior forwards which is clearly insufficient if we want to challenge on all four fronts. Saturday's injury to Sergio Aguero (thankfully not as serious as first thought) highlighted our lack of depth up front, and we must hope we get lucky in terms of injuries, suspensions and loss of form over the next three months, until we can rectify the situation in January. The decision to send John Guidetti out on loan now looks questionable.