Henry Winter, Daily Telegraph
De Jong and co rarely looked like letting Chelsea through on Saturday. One particularly emphatic (but fair) tackle by De Jong on Nicolas Anelka summed up the unquestioning execution of Mancini’s orders. Gareth Barry ably assisted De Jong in the centre while Vincent Kompany and Kolo Touré were imperious at the back, blunting the battering ram that is Didier Drogba.
Steve Tongue, Independent on Sunday
Ian Ladyman, Daily MailChelsea weigh in as the biggest and heaviest side in the League but City stood up to them in some shuddering collisions, no one more so than Nigel de Jong, whose challenges this time were generally more legitimate than for Holland against Spain in the World Cup final. Carlos Tevez rivalled his team-mate for individual honours and claimed more headlines with the only goal, scored following an exciting burst from his own half that finally brought the game to life.
How they achieved it was simple, at least in its design if not its execution. Mancini's three holding midfielders - Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure - denied Chelsea the space they needed. When they did have the ball, City broke with pace and dexterity through Carlos Tevez and David Silva.
Daniel Taylor, The Guardian
Mourinho spoke of a culture whereby Barcelona's opponents "give away the game because they think they cannot win". The same, loosely speaking, has occurred in England. City, however, demonstrated all the attributes that are needed to bring Chelsea to their knees. They were fast to the ball and hard in the tackle. Mancini talked later of not giving Chelsea's attackers space and his players, in particular Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong, carried out such instructions with an efficiency that suggested they have all grown to understand the Italian's philosophy.
City played a relatively deep defensive line, but also kept Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry solidly ahead of the back four. They were ambitiously trying to deny Chelsea space both in behind the defence and between the lines – and it just about worked, thanks to some excellent individual defensive performances. Vincent Kompany was man-of-the-match but Barry and De Jong’s tackling stats (9/10 and 4/4 respectively) were equally important in breaking up the play and Ramires, in particular, struggled to cope with the pressure. Rather than attempting to stop Drogba, they instead stopped the supply to him – he only completed one pass in the second half, and was removed after 75 minutes.
Ian Herbert, The Independent
A defence against which no Premier League side is yet to create a goal this season – the two City have conceded were a penalty and a mix-up – has been subjected to a mantra, rather than a systematic reorganisation, according to Nigel de Jong, who revealed Mancini "preaches" clean sheets.