Manuel Pellegrini demonstrated just how important this massive win is in the scheme of great things and where Manchester City want to be by the way he thanked every City player individually as they left the field tonight.
That the players themselves immediately went into a celebratory huddle at the final whistle having worked their collective socks off underlined a clear and present growing determination to make this season one to savour.
These heartening signs emphasise the injury plagued adversity the squad knows it has overcome to maintain contention in 4 competitions by this stage of the season. The latest victim being Kevin De Bruyne who went down awkwardly after trademark erratic Martin Atkinson refereeing allowed an uncompromising and limited Everton side license to go through the back of City players all evening.
We’ve all seen those niggly challenges pulled up before…
It would be foolish for any Evertonian to bemoan Raheem Sterling’s out of play do or die cross for De Bruyne’s tie winning goal as the reason they were dumped out of this competition.
Outplayed for long periods despite rattling briefly an again disjointed City central midfield and backline that finally asserted itself with the right substitutions, the statistics tell the tale of a team who came to play on the counter offering little else but a raft of fouls. That City were able to overcome this combined with Atkinson’s awkward leniency is testimony to their dogged workrate.
The importance of this victory cannot be exaggerated enough. Planet Blue can now rest easy in the knowledge that the taking of a Wembley roundabout is again within its grasp for something like the 9th time inside 6 seasons.
There is also the contented knowledge that Sir Alex Ferguson came out tonight to watch a proper football match. Dark days for the nosediving Stretfords indeed…I digress.
City have begun a season defining intensive run of games shorn of important players and kick starts don’t get much better than this.
Man of the Match for me amid numerous contenders is Sterling. He typified City’s will-not-be-bullied spirit and once The Engineer saw the tactical light, played to his increasing strengths.
Bring on the touchline Mad Professor!
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Johnny On The Spot – City 3-1 Everton