City handed the initiative to Hull from the off and paid the price with a fourth league defeat of the season. Here’s how the main actors saw it…
‘We started too slowly. We have to learn to fight right from the start. If we had done that then we would not have lost. We had to show more commitment from the first whistle.’
City certainly laboured with key personnel such as Gareth Barry, Stephen Ireland and Nigel De Jong all well off the pace. Mancio continued:
‘It is the same size pitch at home as it is away but we do not start with the same aggression this is something that we have to learn to do. We moved too slowly and we passed too slowly and we didn’t challenge quickly enough either.’
The Blues gaffer rued the loss of impetus that today’s defeat represented. City have finally given frustrated hacks who have been desperate for their mercenary accusations to stick all season something to smile about:
‘It was a big game for us today because if we had won we would have been in a great position and would still have had our two games in hand over the sides above us and the chance to move into the top four. Now we have lost ground but we are still in the race. Tuesday`s game against Bolton is vital to us and we must play for ninety minutes.
The Blues boss added words of praise for Wayne Bridge, returning from injury who came in for plenty of stick from the home fans, whom like Stoke and Wolves before them wanted to know where we were when we were shit. Playing the likes of them, as I recall:
‘I think Wayne did well even though he was bound to have some difficulty having been out for so long. He will get better I am sure. The Hull fans chants at him were not nice and perhaps Wayne deserves some more respect but he is ok and he will be happy to have the match under his belt. He has not had many training sessions.’
Meanwhile, Tigers assistant boss Brian Horton was understandably delighted after his side’s terrific display:
‘We got at them, like we did against Chelsea, and set a high tempo from the start with the two up front causing problems. The first half was as well as we’ve played for a long, long time.
‘The Chelsea result gave us confidence, which is the magic word in football – all of a sudden we look a completely different side.’
Certainly City fans and Chelsea fans alike will be wondering how sides like Hull and today’s three own goalers Portsmouth can roll over so readily for the rags in this increasingly bizarre campaign.
The dismay at City, Villa and Spurs tonight will be tangible at the sight of ‘The Sky Big Four’ reunited in the top four places for the first time this season. City will be hoping that the top four’s European commitments peg them back in the league in the coming weeks.
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