Another pre-season game in the books, another disappointing outcome.
But whilst the US tour was notable for some uninspiring and lifeless displays, last night - disappointing result aside - did at least provide some positives.
The first half in particular had a more competitive feel to it than the recent friendlies, with both sides playing with an edge and displaying some pacy, fluent football when going forward. Notably impressive during the opening forty-five minutes were the front four - Adam Johnson and particularly Shaun Wright-Phillips prepared to attack the full-backs whilst Emmanuel Adebayor and Jo linking well.
Jo, rightly criticised throughout his time at the club, has now featured as much as any player in pre-season and if no further additions arrive could against all odds see himself in the 25-man squad to be named at the end of August - and he has shown far more than Roque Santa Cruz, whose arrival in the second half heralded another undistinguished performance.
Whilst Jerome Boateng and David Silva still await their debuts (held back along with Carlos Tevez), the defeat saw the first glimpse of both Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov. Toure cut an imposing figure in the middle, strong in possession and distributing well, whilst Kolarov showed plenty as the game wore on. His delivery from set pieces was as good as the hype suggested and he looks to be able to offer plenty going forward. Time will tell whether defensively he has what it takes, but he looks to be an upgrade on Wayne Bridge.
Of concern though were the defensive frailties that have plagued the side of late. Mancini may have plenty of options for the central positions and tonight saw the possible first choice pairing in Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany, but again a defeat was largely as a result of our own failings.
Whilst pre-season is primarily to build fitness and readiness for the season - and result in far from impressive performances - the lack of concentration resulted in goals being given away and it is a genuine concern that this is an area that has plagued the side for some time.
With Micah Richards featuring regularly at right-back during pre-season, could it be the case that Jerome Boateng moves into the centre? However Mancini plays it, there does need to far more solidity shown when the 'real' games begin, and for me, the return of de Jong here could be crucial and is a strong argument for adopting a 4-5-1 formation on opening day at White Hart Lane.
The club rounds out its pre-season this Saturday with the home game against Valencia.