Manchester City have plenty of work to do if they are to win the Champions League one day, says former Manchester United captain Roy Keane.
The Republic of Ireland assistant manager was providing analysis on the Citizens’ semi-final second-leg defeat to Real Madrid for ITV and was a long way short of impressed with Manuel Pellegrini’s players.
“If you remember from the last game when they beat Paris Saint-Germain [in the quarter-finals], all the interviews from the manager and the players were the fact that they created history, so maybe the mindset was ‘we’ve gone as far as we can go’,” he said.
“We have seen over the two legs that they are still well short. They needed their big players to perform tonight and they never turned up.”
Keane’s final point may hold a bit of water, but having gone further than all of their Premier League peers, Barcelona and Juventus, who were, of course, last season’s finalists, they’re certainly not a long way off winning the competition.
Against Real, the pre-tournament third favourites and the top-scorers in La Liga, City conceded just once over two legs and, even then, the decisive goal was registered by sophomore-year Citizen Fernando, who deflected Gareth Bale’s shot into his own net.
If a team deemed right in the mix to win the Champions League had to rely on an own goal to see off the Etihad outfit, surely they can’t be far away from winning the trophy as Keane reckons.
Had their main players done the business, it’s not easy to envisaging City eradicating such a slender margin, while their chances to do so were compromised by the loss of star defender Vincent Kompany just ten minutes into the second-leg.
Similarly, Yaya Toure was selected short of full fitness, which was reflected in his underwhelming performance and chief chance-creator David Silva was out injured.
Had circumstances been slightly different, overcoming Real, the 29/20 favourites to win the Champions League, wouldn’t have been too difficult for City, who after reaching the semis this term are well placed to win the competition in 2016/17.