Manchester City vs. Blackburn Rovers  3 - 0

Article

Platt pleased with City display

26 February 2012 02:34

Manchester City assistant coach David Platt was pleased that his side stuck to their game plan against Blackburn on Saturday.

Goals from Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko helped City move five points clear at the summit of the English Premier League.

"In terms of possession, you can see that we had total control of the game," Platt said.

"We knew we had to get off to a good start in terms of rhythm. We took the game to them and created chances. We didn't let them settle into their game plan really, which was to make it difficult and get players behind the ball, and we did that."

"We created chances and you felt as though the goal was coming."

City have recently struggled to replicate their impressive early season form, but showed glimpses of their fluent playing style against Rovers.

While pleased that they were showing a return to form, Platt stressed the importance of grinding out results throughout the campaign.

"I don't think you can go 38 games in a league campaign and play the kind of football we were playing at the start for the whole campaign," he said.

"We were sweeping teams aside, but there are always going to be games we had to grind out."

"I can remember talking after we played Queens Park Rangers away and we ground a result out there and that was some time ago, in the middle of when people were saying we were playing exceptionally well."

"There are games you have to grind out and there are games which go well for you, and you can unblock them and you can play decent and control the game like we did today."

"We have a dozen games left in the league and there will be a mixture of those games where we things are not as fluid as they can be but we still have to get the results."

Blackburn boss Steve Kean was not happy with his side's defensive efforts as they remained in the relegation zone.

"It is never nice to lose," Kean said.

"We just felt we wanted to minimise the amount of times Manchester City could play through us. We wanted to play like we did at Liverpool and Manchester United."

"If you go to big clubs with a good defensive set-up you can cause them problems like we did against Liverpool and United."

"The problem for us was when we did get the ball back. We never kept it like we wanted to and that was the disappointing thing. We gave the ball away when we did win it back. It meant we didn't test Joe Hart (City goalkeeper) enough."

Article

Premier League: Manchester City 3 Blackburn 0

25 February 2012 21:10

Manchester City moved five points clear at the top of the table after a convincing 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers at Etihad Stadium.

Mario Balotelli opened the scoring for the hosts before Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko completed the victory.

City started brightly and nearly took the lead after a fine move down the right hand side which led to Pablo Zabaleta crossing for Mario Balotelli, who was denied by a fantastic save down low by Paul Robinson in the opening minute.

The visitors struggled to gain any period of sustained possession in the first 20 minutes as the home side dominated possession but struggled to create any clear-cut chances.

City's dominance eventually brought about another effort on goal as Adam Johnson cut in from the right and saw a shot palmed out by Robinson.

The hosts were beginning to turn the screw and a Balotelli free kick again forced Robinson into a good save.

Eventually the Blackburn rearguard could not hold out any longer and a City counterattack saw Aleksander Kolarov fire across a ball to the front post for Balotelli to sweep home in the 30th minute.

With Blackburn failing to keep control of the ball chances continued to come for the home side with Pablo Zabaleta and Kolarov providing great outlets in wide positions.

Vincent Kompany's exquisite flick-on from a corner nearly brought a second for City but Robinson again came to his side's rescue before Yaya Toure diverted the rebound wide on the volley.

Moments later a long ball from Balotelli was set upon by Aguero who outmuscled Scott Dann but his left foot shot from a tight angle went just past the post.

City began the second half on the front foot much like they did the first, quickly doubling their lead. A corner whipped in fell for Aguero to smash the ball into the back of the net on the half volley.

The second goal appeared to kill the game as a contest as Rovers looked short of creativity in attack. City appeared very content with the two goal cushion and as the closing stages approached, the end result looked inevitable.

With the hosts comfortably cruising to another home victory the only concern for the home fans was seeing Yaya Toure struggling with an injury.

That worry was soon forgotten though as a stunning cross from Kolarov was met supremely by substitute Dzeko who headed the ball down low past Robinson for City's third of the day.

Article

League matches like European finals, says Mancini

24 February 2012 18:52

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said his side must treat each remaining league game as a Champions League final.

Mancini's men hold a two-point lead at the top of the table, ahead of local rivals and reigning champions Manchester United.

They face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, the next challenge in their quest to break a 44-year league title drought.

The Italian boss has insisted that the club must not underestimate Steve Kean's side in the match at Etihad Stadium, as their tital rivals United did when they succumbed to a 3-2 loss against the same opposition in December, and believes a relegation-threatened club poses a significant hazard.

"It is impossible to be complacent," Mancini told reporters.

"Every game is like a Champions League final and for this reason we need good concentration."

"Now we have a game against Blackburn on Saturday and I think every game from now until the end will be difficult."

"When you play against a squad playing against relegation, it can be more difficult."

"Blackburn won away against Manchester United and we know they are a good team, they are strong on the counter-attack."

"They have been playing very well in the last two or three weeks. They are playing to get away from the bottom."

City's title challenge is boosted by the return of Yaya Toure from the Africa Cup of Nations, and the Ivory Coast international will likely make his Premier League return on Saturday.

Mancini praised the midfielder's mentality, adding: "Yaya is a high-quality player, he used to play for Barcelona and he is used to playing to win every game."

"I think his mentality is very strong and that can help all the team."

"But we have other important players and I think it is a good mix."

First-team coach David Platt stated that Carlos Tevez is far from first-team fitness, and will certainly play no part in the weekend's clash.

"He still has a bit of work to do in terms of preparations before he is ready to go on to the pitch. That is probably not what people want to hear," Platt said.

"There will be a clamour for a Carlos Tevez story but that is not the important thing. The important thing is Manchester City."

"We have to try and temper the clamour. It will take its own course and its own action."

Article

Premier League preview: Manchester City v Blackburn

23 February 2012 11:14

Carlos Tevez is back in the fold but unlikely to feature when Manchester City host Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League.

Tevez returned to England last week, ending nearly four months of self-imposed exile in Argentina following a falling out with City manager Roberto Mancini in September last year.

On Tuesday the striker issued a full, unreserved apology for his part in the well-publicised feud.

Mancini said he has accepted the apology, and expects the former Manchester United striker to be in contention for a return to action within two to three weeks.

That means City will have to make do with their expensively assembled strike force of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli as they welcome strugglers Blackburn to Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The absence of Tevez appeared to have little effect on City's form for much of his time away, with the team still topping the Premier League standings by two points from reigning champions United.

And there was no shortage of goals from the men in sky blue on Wednesday, as they hammered holders Porto 4-0 in the Europa League round-of-32 second leg.

Aguero and Dzeko were both on target in the home win, with David Silva and on-loan midfielder David Pizarro grabbing the others.

The win sealed a 6-1 aggregate triumph over last season's winners of the competition, and should provide City with a welcome morale boost ahead of what is sure to be a closely fought domestic title run-in.

They will be looking to make it three league wins in succession against Blackburn, after recovering from a 1-0 defeat at Everton with victories over Aston Villa and Fulham.

As for the visitors, Steve Kean's team downed Queens Park Rangers 3-2 at home in their last outing, but prior to that they suffered a damaging 7-1 loss away to Arsenal, a serious blow to the confidence of a team struggling to avoid relegation.

Blackburn sit 17th on the table, clear of the drop zone on goal difference only.

Kean has several selection concerns to contend with coming into the match.

Club captain Chris Samba could return from a hamstring injury, but his fellow defender Gael Givet is suspended, as is midfielder Jason Lowe.

David Dunn is in doubt due to a calf injury, while a hip problem has sidelined veteran Vince Grella indefinitely.

Mancini, by contrast, has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from, with no suspensions, as City target their first top-flight title since 1968.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +64 89
2 38 +56 89
3 38 +25 70
4 38 +25 69
5 38 +5 65
6 38 +19 64
7 38 +10 56
8 38 +7 52
9 38 -3 52
10 38 -7 47
11 38 -7 47
12 38 -14 47
13 38 -1 45
14 38 -17 45
15 38 -20 43
16 38 -16 38
17 38 -23 37
18 38 -31 36
19 38 -30 31
20 38 -42 25