Ouch. Another CL evening and another disappointing performance and result. Where was the power and pace last night? There were warning signs early on last night as we seemed to surrender midfield and found it hard to string more than a couple of passes together, our ball retention in Europe is sorely lacking. Each of the goals we conceded was avoidable.
The first, we had numerous chances in the build up to hoof the ball away and use up the seconds before half time but the last culprit was Nasri, gifting the ball in midfield and then Barry and Milner failed to track back. The second was poor marking at a corner and even then Clichy was caught in no mans land, had he taken a couple of steps back he’d have been on the goal line and could have cleared it easily but instead he just chose to stand there, doing nothing.
Goal number 3 was down to Barry, who had an overal lamentable performance, gifting the ball away, not for the first time in Europe. Mancini must realise by now that Barry is too slow and too cumbersome, too predictable at this level. Most others can see it…
Poor Edin up front, every time he gets the chance to start and show that he deserves more than the super sub tag he turns in a performance that suggests he is in fact best suited to the super sub tag. I think we are fielding teams in Europe, obviously based around our squad, who are big and powerful but a tad slow and cumbersome and against teams like Ajax and Dortmund (and Napoli, last season), who are quick, nimble and technically very proficient, we struggle big time. Our strength and size are suited to doing well at home, which we do, but not ideal for Europe.
Let’s not beat about the bush here, Ajax were good but not a great side and after scoring first and quietening their home support, we should have gone on and killed them off instead of sitting back and thinking we could hold them off. Our ball retention, when we are pressed, is suspect.
And another thing. Ajax were very vocal last night about our “oil money” with numerous chants and banners around the ground chastising us for having the money and having bought the ability to compete in the Champions League. Fair enough but Ajax shouldn’t forget that they are big boys in Holland themselves and have for a good long time enjoyed superior financial clout over most other Dutch clubs, with the exception of Philips backed PSV. Therefore they are being two faced themselves, they’re saying it’s okay to enjoy the benefits of having more cash than your rivals at home but not, for some reason, in Europe.