History was made last night at the Etihad as Manchester City qualified to be in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League. It has been no secret that the clubs owners and upper management have this tournament as their number one priority, and in that respect, hats off to Pellegrini for getting us there.
On the other hand, has the cost to our League form and playing staff been worth it? Vincent Kompany now faces at least a month off after the calf injury suffered in the second leg last night, and will certainly watch the Manchester derby from the sidelines, but could this setback have been prevented? In the eight games City have played since his return to the lineup, in February against Spurs, Kompany has only missed the FA Cup tie against Chelsea, a game the majority of the first team players missed.
If we forget that game and start from the first leg in the Champions League against Kiev then it is surprising to see that our Captain, the man who had only come back from a calf injury which has plagued his career, along with Otamendi and Aguero, are the only others to have played every minute before starting in the sixth game in only 20 days.
With City having a 3-1 advantage, three away goals in the bag and one eye on the Manchester derby and the potential to slip out of the top four, wouldn't it have been wise for Manuel to have the Captain on the bench for this? Including the extra time in the League Cup that means that our central defensive pairing last night had each played 490 minutes. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but with everything mentioned I am convinced that our league position this season has suffered, rather than been enhanced, by our the focus being put on Champions League games.
Kompany, himself, even expressed concern that it could be too much too soon in his pre match notes featured in the match day program.
"I play for a club that has big expectations and one of those expectations is for me to immediately start pulling in performances that are worthy of this team," he said. "In that respect, I have had to hit the ground running.
"Normally you get a period to settle back in, perhaps play a couple of practice games, and get yourself 100% right."
If you cast your mind back to the first trophy won for Manchester City of the Pellegrini reign, the Capital One Cup. City went into the second leg of the Semi Final with a 6-0 lead against the Hammers, and yet, only David Silva and Yaya Toure were rested. Joe Hart obviously missed out as Costel Pantilimon had been promised the domestic cup nod, Boyata started, Lescott was captain and Marco Lopes made only his second senior appearance.
With the draw happening this Friday, the excitement to see who we might get, and the bragging rights of being the only English side left, should not be tarnished. However, with the Quarter Finals taking place the week after a trip away to Bournemouth then home to West Brom I am expecting some more frustrating league performances along the way.