More of the same, please City

MANCHESTER CITY restored their dented pride and their credentials as potential multiple trophy winners with the impressive revenge win against Chelsea in the FA Cup. Now, I want to see manager Manuel Pellegrini keep up the good work against Barcelona tonight by again making the right selections. For me, Joleon Lescott has to stay in the team in the centre of defence, alongside the towering figure of captain Vincent Kompany. I have said often enough that Lescott, whose natural left foot gives the centre-back pairing a marvellous balance, would always get my vote to partner Kompany over Nastasic and, most certainly, over Demichelis.

Also, I think the excellent, hard-working and versatile James Milner showed against Chelsea – as he did when starring in the early-season return leg victory over mighty Bayern Munich – that he is the man for the big occasion. Milner was terrific in that wide right role that also sees him tucking in and lending invaluable support to Yaya Toure who, clearly also comforted by the presence of Garcia – who had his best game for City in the holding role – was at his rampaging, belligerent best as Jose Mourinho and his players were well and truly put in their place. It might be that Garcia will be unlucky and make way for Fernandinho, and you couldn’t argue with that, but I hope Pellegrini sticks by the other guys who did him proud on Saturday

With Sergio Aguero again ruled out, it will be interesting to see who plays at the front. I suspect that Jovetic, who reminded me so much of my former City front-runner ┬áPaul Dickov in the way he tirelessly harassed the Chelsea defenders, will again start with either Dzeko or Negredo as the focal point of the attack. Against Lionel Messi and the Barca all-stars, City will need to produce another disciplined, all-round performance and I suggest that unsung heroes Lescott and Milner, Pellegrini’s foot soldiers if you like, need to be there to help ensure that is just what they do.

 

Give Brits a break

As the season nears its close we await the confirmation of another two foreigners, the Chilean Pellegrini and the Portuguese Mourinho, to take charge at Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.They will replace fellow “outsiders” Roberto Mancini and Rafa Benitez…and so the fascination for foreign coaches in the Premier League continues. Having been in football as a player and manager for the best part of 45 years, I admit to being something of a traditionalist who believes that homegrown talent should be more in evidence in the managerial ranks. However, I do concede that, now that we have so many foreign players in the Premier League, having a multi-lingual non-Brit in charge does make some sense. We British can’t deny that, historically, we have been too lazy when it comes to learning other languages. A notable exception is England boss Roy Hodgson who is trilingual, at least. Mind you, how can anyone be expected to make sense of the FA’s previous national coach appointment, Fabio Capello – the Italian who couldn’t speak English! The FA aren’t renowned for common sense decisions, but that one really did take the biscuit.

While reluctantly conceding there is some validity in having a foreigner in charge at a multi-national Premier League club, I must say I can’t see why that is necessary outside the top division, where the average percentage of non-British players is much lower. And, frankly, I can’t imagine a man coming from abroad to take a Hartlepool or Rotherham through the divisions. As I said the other day, the appointment of David Moyes to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, one Scot for another, is a big fillip for British coaches and for the League Managers’ Association, who have long been campaigning for better representation for homegrown coaching talent.