Man City look to have learnt a lesson in Europe
It’s still all to play for as far as the English teams are concerned in the Champions League but I was really impressed with Manchester City out in Germany against Bayern Munich.
I thought they were really unfortunate to lose at the Allianz Arena and it looks to me like they have learnt a lot over the past few seasons in Europe. They may have not gone past the second round but it looks to me like they are now finally ready to make an impact in the Champions League.
Last season the commitment and organisation was not as good from City as we saw week in week out in the Premier League. I saw a real difference in the way they set up in Munich and I thought they were really unlucky not to come away with a point.
You could see the delight in the Munich camp and Pep Guardiola’s celebrations showed how important he thought that result was. They came through against a really good side who were well organised and had a goalkeeper playing at the top of his game.
It’s going to be a tough ask for City to get out of this group with Roma showing their credentials but they are better served to do it this time around. There are no easy games in the group and the pressure is on City to get results. It will certainly be an epic battle when Roma travel to City and I’m looking forward to that one already.
Back to the drawing board for Solksjaer
After being relieved of his duties at Cardiff it’s going to take time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to bounce back. No one’s going to offer him a job in the Premier League or the Championship anytime soon because the facts are he had over half a season in the Premier League and couldn’t keep Cardiff up and then had a poor start this season.
I presume he will want to continue his managerial career but he might have to go home and hone his craft for a while yet.
Ole is used to winning as he has had success all through his career. He was a winner at Manchester United and never gave Sir Alex Ferguson a moment’s problem and then he went back to Norway to start his managerial career and had more success there.
He obviously thought he was ready for the Premier League but perhaps it came too soon for him and maybe Cardiff had peaked when he got there and the only way was down.
There is a good atmosphere in that club but Ole knew that with an astronomical wage bill you have to start off on a flyer.
Some of the players there are earning what five or six players earn at other clubs in that league. Vincent Tan is a chairman who’s not afraid to get rid of a manager as he demands a lot and unfortunately Ole didn’t live up to that.
Magath had to go
The situation at Fulham was similar and the owners were left with no choice but to part with Felix Magath. Things just couldn’t have been allowed to continue the way they were.
There was discontent with Magath’s training methods last year and that looks to have continued into the new season so the extra yard that is needed for success wasn’t there and they’ve got off to a stinker at Craven Cottage. You just can’t have only one point at this stage of the season after spending so heavily.
Again, the wages at Fulham outstrip most other clubs but that’s always the problem when you get relegated.
Look at Bryan Ruiz. He captained Costa Rica, who were the best team in England’s group at the World Cup, and then he has to come back and play in the second tier.
It’s not just foreign players either there are English players there like Scott Parker who probably still considers himself a Premier League player, there are loads there like Hugo Rodallega and those players needed convincing that the drop down was just for 12 months.
When you’re faced with a season in the second tier it’s difficult for the players and the fans to get their heads round it, the enjoyment of visiting the big grounds, for example, is diluted so it’s hard.
Magath knew the score though so he won’t be too surprised with the outcome.
Why I can’t wait for the Ryder Cup
We are just a week away from the Ryder Cup and I can’t wait for the action to get underway at Gleneagles.
We have European star Rory McIlroy on Goals on Sunday this weekend and it’s the first time we’ve had a non-football guest on the couch. He’s a pal of mine and I can’t wait to see him to talk everything about the Ryder Cup and of course, Manchester United.
Due to work commitments I unfortunately won’t be able to get up to Scotland to see the action unfold but speaking to Rory on Sunday to talk about the event will be enough for me.
It’s such a special event. It’s one of those things you dream of as a kid. You dream of playing for England, you dream of playing at Wembley, but when you get a bit older and can’t play football anymore and take up golf you dream of sinking the winning putt to win the Ryder Cup for Europe.
I’m backing Team Europe all the way. The Americans are always difficult to beat but with the likes of Rory, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter doing the business I’m backing a Europe victory!
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