All Manchester derbies are huge affairs, some get hyped up more than others but with City’s new found millions the game has taken on a greater importance. The term noisy neighbour is thrown around with reckless abandon and I feel in ridiculing City with it sometimes we don’t take their threat as serious as we should.
Yesterday’s game was meant to be a huge one, people said it was Mancini’s first proper derby with his own team rather than the team he inherited and City were finally going to make us and the rest of the world recognise them as a serious threat. We apparently had injuries and although a number of the players that were meant to miss the game actually played you have to question their full fitness for example Rio Ferdinand had diarrhoea and that will definitely take it out of your body.
I found the game interesting regardless of what neutrals and Alan Hansen thought. It just goes to show our recent games have served up such great moments thus the barrier is set extremely high.
One thing that did strike me at the end of the game was a peculiar comment from Roberto Mancini who declared that the game showed that City were catching up with United:
“I think we’re getting closer to Manchester United. I think we need more time. I think we are improving from last year.I prefer one point tonight to no points last year.”
Whilst I can see the logic in what he was saying about getting a point, his tactics and demeanour said otherwise in regards to closing the gap. Let’s be clear, last night against a less than stellar United team City played for a draw. Despite massive performances I feel a number of our players weren’t 100% and City didn’t even look to take advantage. Last season I had to put up with being told we are a 1 man team and without Rooney we would suffer. I didn’t see Rooney last night but we were still the better team.
Last night was City’s biggest chance to really make some noise and move from being the neighbour to being the house mate and for me they blew it. City as usual packed the midfield and very rarely threatened our goal despite looking threatening (!?). At home the threat of losing caused Mancini to freeze and his late substitution bringing on Adebayor with endemic of this. He was happy to run down the clock, get out of the game with a point but fortunately his approach to the game is being seen for what it was, negative.
When watching the show on the derby hosted by Cantona, Sir Bobby Charlton said something very poignant. Speaking of how United played football he said Sir Matt Busby insisted they entertained those who spent their hard earned money to come and see them play, something City didn’t do yesterday against a less than 100% United team on their own patch.
That’s the difference between us and them, it is something that goes beyond on field achievements. Our mentality is totally different so Mancini can stop with all of his talk of getting closer to us, it’s an impossible dream. So let the blue moon rise, after night comes day and the moon disappears and though it will return, for me it will always be rising in a red sky.