Decisions cost us today

Decisions cost us today.

By Carl Curtis

If there was ever a game where you question a managers ‘in-play’ decision making this must be the one.

The game started very much as I expected, the ten minutes that proceeded the kick off showed that Burnley were going to be a threat on the counter attack and City needed to take a stranglehold of the game quickly.

In fairness City slowly got into the game and by the 35th minute they were dominant.

Debutant Tony Watt is a live wire who is willing to take the play forward and attack the opposition defence, not afraid to shoot and showed real promise as the type of striker we have been missing.

Watt played further forward of Kenwyne Jones, playing through the middle causing the centre halves problems nearly every time he had the ball in his 60 minutes on the pitch.

Slade stuck with his favoured 4-4-2 but made tactical changes to the line up, in came Gunnarsson to partner Joe Ralls in the centre and Peter Whittingham played wide left.

The plan was working, City looked organised, balanced and more of a threat going forward than we have in some time.

Again today we didn’t score from open play, but two headers that came from a Ralls free kick and a Whittingham corner.

But the signs were good that City were showing more intent.

Fans will bemoan the fact that we were 2-0 up with 85 minutes on the clock but from the midway point of the second half the writing was on the wall.

Burnley pushed another body into the midfield central area but Russell Slade stuck with his 4-4-2.

I turned to my daughter on 75 minutes and said if we concede a goal now we will not win this game, I could see us being overrun and we didn’t do anything tactical to combat the threat, instead we were pushed further back and stretched across the width of the pitch time and again.

If Gunnarsson was injured then I understand the change for O’Keefe but if not then questions need to be asked, the Iceland captain didn’t look tired and was still moving freely.

Watt was replaced by Joe Mason, which I understood given the lack of game time he has had recently but the one change I couldn’t fathom was Macheda for Jones.

Our backs were to the wall, because Burnley were controlling the midfield, someone said to me that Slade was trying to waste a little time by making that change, my reaction was he was delaying the inevitable.

A change was needed I agree but it should have been a change of shape not like for like.

Mason could have gone to the left to bring Whittingham inside to beef up the midfield or bring Kennedy on for Jones and leave Mason up top.

We should have gone 4-5-1 and at least try and hold on to the slender lead and frustrate Burnley but our manager could not see the threat or didn’t know how to deal with it.

The frustrating part of today was that for a large spell today City were the better team but I must say I believe the manager cost us three points, the maddening thing is had he been able to make tactical changes during the game to his shape then Russell Slade would have been praised for the loan signing of Tony Watt, swapping Ralls for Whittingham and his team putting on their best display of the season but he has been shown up in the final minutes.

Lee Peltier was man of the match for me today.