Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City blew a convincing 2-0 halftime lead at home to the barely professional Burnley, escaping with only a 2-2 draw and whatever remaining self-respect they could shove into their pockets. It wasn’t two points the Citizens should feel very pleased about dropping, considering they’re trying to convince themselves that they can still catch Chelsea.
Not wanting to be left out of the blame game party, Pellegrini delivered his own “What had happened was…” summary of the game:
“In football, just two balls can decide the score. I think we played very well in the first half. In the second half, when they scored they grew.”
There are a few ways to interpret this quote:
- Pellegrini believes City were the dominant team and just unlucky to see Burnley convert the few chances it had. Burnley only registered three shots on goal, so he isn’t far off.
- By “balls,” he was referring to boldness or confidence. Maybe Pellegrini thought his team was too timid in the second half and allowed Burnley, a club without a single recognizable face, back into the game.
- Actual balls. Manchester City may have been so poor in the second half due to a freak simultaneous outbreak of stress-induced testicular injuries. After each Burnley goal, things only got worse.
“It is difficult for all the teams, especially our team because we played on a very heavy pitch against West Bromwich in the last game, to keep the same pace in the second half.”
This is a legitimate statement if you consider that snow made the field at West Brom difficult to play on — or ignore that Manchester City are one of the deepest clubs in the world, or that Burnley played their last game at the exact same time.
But hey, a theme’s a theme, and Pellegrini got the memo that all the top coaches in the Premier League were going to come out and blame everyone but themselves or their own players for failing to win today. He’s a team player and company man. They’re good qualities to have.