ANALYSIS: What Man City and Man United must do to progress in Europe

first_imgFresh from another night of disappointment for the Manchester clubs in Europe, Jim White looks at what they must do to progress in the Champions League.–The noise when Juventus took the lead at the Etihad Stadium in last night’s Champions League game was more than a little instructive.Though to call it noise would have been to glorify what sounded a lot more like silence. Those watching on television, or listening on the radio must have been twiddling their dials and prodding at their remote, assuming there was a transmission issue. But there was no problem with reception.City had gone behind in their opening European game and suddenly all sound had been sucked from the broadcast. The response from the locals was silence, a thick, sullen, disappointed quiet.If that had been a fixture in the Premier League and the away side had sprung advantage, the sky blue denizens would have been in full voice, vocally seeking some sort of response from their team, urging them to retain their glorious start to the domestic season, to keep the winning run intact. But this was a European tie.And at City, such games come with a hefty weight of inferiority ladled on to the collective shoulders. No-one seems to expect, so no-one appears too surprised when it doesn’t happen.Five years of unkind draws, of unfair weighting, of relentless under achievement have led the City faithful to assume there is no point getting excited by the big European nights. They will only end up disappointed.Not that things were any better for their ever quieter neighbours. United fumbled and stuttered in Eindhoven, losing to a side which the swashbuckling Ferguson teams of yore would have brushed aside without demur. And what was more worrying for United followers – beyond the awful injury to Luke Shaw, one of the few to emerge from the start to the season as an unequivocal success – was that this was about as carefree and attacking a team as Louis Van Gaal could select.Lambasted for his lack of ambition, for the robotic methodology of his attacking systems, for the dispiriting deficit of oomph, the United manager selected as gung-ho a team as is available to him.Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Memphis, Ashley Young and Antony Martial all started.Yet, beyond a sweet Memphis strike against his old club, there was precious little spark, little suggestion that the Dutchman has the resources to illuminate European football. But then, in a sense, that was no surprise. No-one who has observed United this season would reckon them a Champions League winner in waiting.Efficient rather than exciting, they look like a side who would do well to end up in fourth place again. Though the way English teams are rapidly undermining their co-efficient through serial under-achievement in the Champions League, it won’t be long before coming fourth is not enough. For those who have seen City this season, though, it was a shock. Or at least it should have been.Never mind the grumbly silence that greeted their Groundhog Day defeat, this was widely reckoned as the year when surely the club threw off its shackles and actually transferred its domestic form on to the European stage.Manuel Pellegrini has his team playing brilliantly in local competition, from the evisceration of Chelsea to the ground-out victory over Crystal Palace, they seem capable of adapting to every circumstance and triumphing in all of them.Yet, the moment the Champions League anthem sounds, this team of neighbourhood bullies seems to shrivel and wilt. The way they diminish every season must be close to making their manager tear out his hefty busby of hair. Of course it is not too late for either Manchester club to qualify. Five games remain, more than enough to accrue sufficient points: many a former champion club have lost their first fixture in the competition. But both will need a substantial change in gear to progress.United need to put an immediate stop to the growing habit of taking a lead and then losing.They did it at Swansea and now they have done it in Eindhoven. Protecting leads is critical. And while the loss of Shaw cannot have helped defensive coherence, it is worth bearing in mind that he was injured before they had taken the lead.For City, the change of mindset needs to be more substantial. A complete overhaul in assumption is required. Somehow Pellegrini has to persuade his players that Europe’s elite are no more substantial opponents than West Brom, Palace and Everton.Certainly they are no better than Chelsea. And he wouldn’t have to make a huge leap in imagination to do so. It is true. Whatever an opportunity Tuesday’s double defeat of the Manchester clubs provides to assail the claims of the Premier League to be the best in the world, City, without question, have the wherewithal to do better than this.While not on a par with Messi, Suarez and Neymar, that front three of Aguero, Sterling and Silva is as good as most in Europe.Even with Aguero temporarily on the bench, they have enough to scare. And the midfield power provided by Toure and Fernandinho is surely on a par with any. All that appears to be missing is belief.Though belief, as any coach knows, is the hardest commodity of all to acquire. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

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DANIEL TO REVEAL HIS COOKING SKILLS ON RTE’S SURF N TURF

first_imgDaniel O’Donnell appears on RTE’s Surf N Turf this Friday night where he puts his cooking skills to the test.Chef Paul goes straight to the newly opened visitor centre dedicated to the singer, travels to his house and even bumps into his wife Majella.After much searching, he finally finds Daniel attending Irish classes in the area and duly recruits him. The challenge is to keep the identity of his illustrious helper from his competitor Martin.Meanwhile Martin is in fishing heaven in Ireland’s most northern county and finds some delicious mackerel for the challenge.Paul opts for pork belly which he cooks with some local black pudding all sourced from Donegal butcher Ernan McGettigan.Twenty local taste testers arrive to the Glencolmcille Folk Village to sample the two signature dishes and Martin’s reaction when he sees Daniel O’Donnell stroll in to help Paul is priceless. But who will Donegal vote for, Surf or Turf?  DANIEL TO REVEAL HIS COOKING SKILLS ON RTE’S SURF N TURF was last modified: January 15th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:daniel o’donnellRTESurf N Turflast_img read more

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