A week which saw turmoil engulf the club off the field got a whole lot worse on Thursday evening as our bid to try and create some positive headlines was blown apart as we fell to a disastrous 1-0 defeat to leave our UEFA Cup hopes hanging by a thread.
As this fixture drew closer, it did become apparant that our opponents would provide a stronger test than first thought when the draw was initially made but we appeared to get cold to a certain extent by a side who had the drive, pace, creativity and desire it was plain to see that we lacked - something that Mark Hughes gave them credit for following the game.
Plaudits aside, it was a game that we really should not have been beaten in and the real worry on the eve of the Premier League campaign is the manner of the defeat in that Petrov aside we looked bereft of attacking ideas and intent.
Hughes sprung a suprise in attack by partnering Daniel Sturridge with Felipe Caceido - a player who had seen limited action in pre-season, and despite his full fitness still being in question I would have liked to have seen Bojinov have started the game, and it maybe that Hughes expected to get through without having to risk him ahead of the Villa game?
Ben Haim at left back also looked a bad move as it appeared to be a move simply to fit him into the side and make an easy decision rather than leave out one of Corluka, Dunne or Richards.
The 4-5-1 was derided at times last season, with Sven receiving a lot of criticism over his adherence to the formation, but with the 4-4-2 adopted by Hughes we have seen so far, we look light in the centre of midfield as neither Hamman, Gelson or (the disappointing) Johnson seemingly able to get a grip of the game.
The 4-4-2 of course means the deployment of Elano on the right, a move which I do not subscribe to and one which I don't believe benefits us in any way. Petrov aside, we had no creativity on Thursday, and it needs Elano to be moved into a more central position in the second leg as we will have to go with a more positive approach.
Of course we are in a great deal of trouble in this tie and our hopes of a sustained run in the competition are in doubt, but a one goal lead is not insurmountable by any means and the hope is that with another two weeks of work (with a pair of Premier League games) under our belts, we can turn in a far greater performance to overturn the deficit and make up for the disappointment of Thursday night.
Mark Hughes will always remember his first 90 minutes at Eastlands as Manchester City's manager. It was the one where his team was booed off; the one where he tore down the tunnel at half-time to read the riot act to a team that was being outplayed by a club nobody in Manchester could spell, let alone had heard of. >>telegraph.co.uk
Whoever said that off-field troubles do not transmit to football players should have been at Eastlands last night as Manchester City were humbled by a group of unknowns from Denmark. >>mail online.
Hughes will surely not have anticipated hearing his team being barracked by their own fans 20 minutes into their first game inside their own ground. Visibly angry, he could be seen shaking his head in disgust, shocked by his players' efforts, and will certainly be looking for a drastic improvement, to say the least, when City travel to Denmark's Jutland peninsula for the return leg on August 28. >>guardian.co.uk
BRITISH forces have not always fared well in Jutland, as Admiral Sir John Jellicoe found out to his cost in the famous naval battle there 92-years ago.
That bad form will have to change in two weeks’ time if City’s Euro adventure is not to come to an abrupt halt in northern Denmark. >>men.co.uk