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Blackburn 2 City 0

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Why did we expect it to be any different?

At one point when Tottenham were 3-1 up against Chelsea I even began to think of a potential semi-final quartet of City, Tottenham, Middlesbrough and Plymouth and the easier route to Wembley glory that would provide.

Yet a few hours later, once again hope was extinguished and we are left with a battle against relegation that threatens to turn ugly given the current mood of the fans - and perhaps as important, the media who will be circling to target the demise of Cty in much the same manner they have gone after West Ham in recent weeks.

For the first twenty minutes we came out with a purpose and intent that backed up my theory that Richard Dunne had played a little psychological trickery on the side by dishing out a some pre-match criticism.

However, once the initial burst had fizzleed out we regressed to type, offering little in the way of attacking threat - and even less in terms of tangible attacking opportunities. And once Mokoena had (fortioutously) put Blackburn ahead it was more in hope than anything else that we relied upon to gain anything from the game.

Team wise, what did Pearce get wrong? Perhaps only the ommission of Mpenza but fitness may still be an issue with him, but critically it looked as though the team has lost heart and belief in both themselves and their manager.

Time and time again, the wrong option was chosen - often a simple mistake which you do not see from other teams. Particularly frustrating again was the insistence of playing into the hands of the opposition strengths and the terrible lack of cohesion between the attacking pair and the midfield/wing-backs.

With about fifteen minutes left (maybe with the introduction of Samaras?) a different mood was sensed from the crowd and chants of 'you're not fit to wear the shirt' directed at the team, and of 'what the %#$* is going on?' very much aimed at Stuart Pearce. It was no surprise when Blackburn added a second through Derbyshire - having been given time and space to slot easily past Weaver to seal their passage into the semi-finals.

Lest we forget, Blackburn were even down to ten men towards the end of the game following the sending off of Mokoena, but we couldn't capitalise and in all honesty failed to even threaten Blackburn with a half-decent chance.

For quite a vocal and animated character, Pearce towards the end appeared to be wearing an almost deflated expression, perhaps as though he realised time was up on his tenure at the club.

Wendesday night at home to Chelsea could see an intresting reaction from the crowd, and I expect those attending will not hold back on either Pearce or the team from the word go as the pressure begins to mount on the Pearce reign.

It is time for a response, and it is needed quickly.


"It's frustration really, that's one word I'd associate with
us at the moment. We're a little bit frustrated from top to bottom at the club
and that goes for the fans as well. It was a little bit of frustration from him.
I'm as frustrated as he is to be honest and the players are as well. We're in
the dressing room and it was very quiet. We've just got to pick ourselves up and
that must start with me."
-Stuart Pearce.

The Times