By Shane Thomas
While the football world is currently ablaze with disgust and outrage over the conduct of Carlos Tevez on Tuesday evening, the Manchester City players and manager, Roberto Mancini would do well to put the furore to the back of their minds.
Tevez's behaviour may have infuriated many, but it's nothing more than a sideshow to what was a lacklustre performance in a 2-0 defeat against Bayern Munich. The former captain may not have helped things by allegedly refusing to come off the bench, but it was not the reason why City lost.
After a solid early start, in which they should have been awarded a penalty when erstwhile City defender Jerome Boateng brought down David Silva, they gave the initiative over to the Bavarians, and Bayern Munich are not a team who need an invitation to grab control of a game. City's defending for both goals showed an alarming passivity, and Joe Hart's apoplectic reaction to his defenders probably mirrored that of the fans. When under pressure, there was an absence of drive from City to try and get themselves back into the match. They continued with their Plan A of getting the ball up to one of Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri or Silva, expecting their diminutive trio to spin some magic to score or create a goal.
But Silva's passing went uncharacteristically askew, Nasri was marked out of the game, and Aguero was a magnet for Bayern shirts the second he was in possession. With every misplaced pass, with every error, the chances of City getting something from the match slipped further and further away. Had it not been for Hart, the defeat would have been even more severe.
While there is a potent attacking threat in this City side, there will be occasions when it will fail to function. That's when they have to find other ways to get results, and not just against the likes of Everton, but against Europe's top teams. The loss in the Allianz Arena has made qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League very difficult, and they may need to beat both Bayern at the Etihad, and Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium to avoid spending the second-half of the season in the Europa League.
So yes, the Tevez situation is a headache that all involved with City could do without, but they have to put Tuesday night behind them, or even greater problems await the club. And it'd be a pity after such a strong start, for their season to fizzle out.
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