Manchester City have struggled to live up to the expectations entering the season, as the defending English champions have fallen behind in the race for back-to-back titles and also struggled to establish their dominance in the UEFA Champions League.
And that’s why former Citizen Richard Dunne was harsh with his criticism towards Pep Guardiola’s side, as he feels like they’re just too overconfident and they’re just not focused right now, and even claiming the UEFA Champions League is a distraction for the team as they aren’t that interested in the group stage:
“City are conceding goals as well and not winning games, draws with Atalanta and Shakhtar in the Champions League don’t look great. I feel as a club they felt the job in the Champions League was done, but it wasn’t quite done, City are just about getting over the line in Europe and not exerting themselves too much. You can’t switch off and then expect to switch back on again, football doesn’t work like that at the top level. You have to keep that tempo up all the time, you can’t pick and choose the games you decide to play in.
The Champions League, for me, looks like a distraction for City. The fans don’t seem that up for it and overall they don’t seem to have that excitement for the group stages. They only get interested as a club in the knockout stage, and you can get caught out by that. City probably went into that game with Shakhtar thinking, ‘we have beaten them three times in the last four years so we’ll beat them again’, but if you are not at 100 percent, any team is capable of causing you problems. City, at least, have made the last 16,” Dunne told the Irish Independent.
However, Dunne knows the team has what it takes to get back on their feet and make a run in the English Premier League to put some pressure on Liverpool, who are currently leading them by 9 points and sit at the top of the table:
“City will plod on and I can see them going on a run of seven or eight wins in a row, they will find their form. They have had their setbacks, they’ve not had an ideal start to the season but they are still in there. I can see them putting all their focus on the Premier League for the next couple of months and then we’ll see what City are made of.
They did it last season, winning 14 games in a row after Christmas, this is when they warm up in the season, so Liverpool need to be aware of that and react to it. They are missing defensive players but the injury to Sergio Aguero is a blow. As good as Gabriel Jesus is, he doesn’t have the same sort of aura about him in the team that Aguero does,” Dunne concluded.
Gabriel Jesus has struggled to be at his best following his incredible goal-scoring streak from his first got to the club, and the Citizens will have a tough time trying to replace Aguero’s production while he continues to nurse another injury.