I’m lucky enough to be able to travel to watch our European away games, though it’s often been a dispiriting experience (Warsaw, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Malmō etc etc) but tonight was our best performance in the 17 away games I’ve been to. I’m only just back in my hotel room from the game so I haven’t seen any stats yet but my impression from the game is that we had more possession and shots than City. Did Craig Gordon have a save to make in the second half?
I’ve just been chatting with a City fan who was bemoaning their defence and saying they needed to go out and buy another defender in January, no doubt spending another £40 million plus. And therein lies the English problem…..throw money at the team. He had no thought of player development or organisation. When he said that they had a lot of youngsters out tonight and so he wasn’t surprised they struggled against us I enjoyed pointing out that one of their “youngsters”, Sane, cost over £35 million!
Rodgers has shown what can be achieved when you try and improve players. Tonight we had a confident team whose technical ability is hugely better than a year ago. We pressed well (we seem to be getting better at this with each CL game) and played with no little skill and confidence. For the second away game in a row we looked the team most likely to win it as the second half progressed though we ran out of legs a wee bit in the last few minutes.
There wasn’t a single bad performance tonight with many outstanding ones. Tonight was Armstrong’s best game in Europe since Inter, the defence were excellent, Brown, Rogic and Forrest superb and, of course, Roberts was back to his best. How was that not a penalty, by the way,? It was a clear pull from the third tier at the opposite end of the stadium!
So a campaign which started in 35 degree heat by the rock of Gibraltar has ended with considerable pride in the way we competed in the toughest CL group I recall us being in. And the good news is that Brendan is happy, wants to stay and keeps saying that we’re still not at the standard he is aiming for. I can’t help chuckling every time I hear him say that. But then again there’s lots to chuckle about these days!!