Over time, as the new players bed in and the club becomes more accustomed to its newly acquired fame, it has to be imagined City will develop the knack of coming to these kind of places and asserting the sort of authority that comes from being the most expensively assembled squad in English football.
It is a state of mind as much as anything to do with talent and, for now, what we are seeing is a work in progress. Mancini is searching for the right balance between creativity and conservatism but currently seems to be veering towards the latter, with eight defence-minded players in his £180m starting line-up. David Silva and Carlos Tevez played behind, and wide of, Adebayor but in terms of creativity there were long spells when they scarcely threatened to get behind the opposition defence.
Mark Ogden, Daily Telegraph
Roberto Mancini’s team were treading water, lethargic and uninspiring prior to Balotelli’s 56th minute introduction as a replacement for Gareth Barry.
Yet once the former Inter Milan forward, described as ‘unmanageable by Mourinho, had entered the fray, Mancini’s team was transformed and provided the potency they had so painfully lacked without him.
Colin Young, Daily Mail
As promised, Roberto Mancini gave Balotelli his debut but decided to blood him into a side which, on the evidence of their sorry first-half showing, can best be described as a work in progress.If Mancini wanted an immediate impact, he got one after sending him on for Gareth Barry in the 57th minute. At that point, City fielded a front line that consisted of Balotelli, Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Emmanuel Adebayor.