City’s 1-1 draw with Swansea on Sunday saw the Blues finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League for the sixth year in a row, but the media in general are unimpressed.
It’s the end of an era, with Manuel Pellegrini in charge of the Blues for the last time for the stalemate in south Wales, and that, naturally, dominates the agenda.
The Manchester Evening News’ Rob Pollard says failure to make the top four would have been a “disaster” and like Joe Hart elsewhere on this website feels that Sunday was a case of getting the job done with a point needed.
“Having significantly improved their performance in Europe’s elite competition this season, demotion to the Europa League would halted their progress.
“It was by the skin of their teeth – but it was crucial they got their point. The result, really, was all that mattered in this one – but City’s performance was somewhat disjointed.”
Manuel’s jacket-shedding goodbye to the City fans who had made the long trio to the Liberty Stadium also rates a mention from Rob, who adds:
“After the rather underwhelming goodbye to the home fans last weekend, Manuel Pellegrini was given the send-off he deserved at the end of his final game in charge.
“He made his way over to the away supporters, threw his jacket into the crowd and waved goodbye as they sang his name in unison.
“His tenure has been far from perfect and a change was desperately needed – but he provided some highs and deserves recognition for that.”
The Mail’s Martin Samuel was less than impressed – with both sides - although he flags up the fact that Manuel did add some more silverware to his haul this term.
“City have done well — they’ve won a trophy this season, too, the Capital One Cup — but in terms of bang for buck, they should expect more. This was the players’ last chance to show the new boss they meant business, to put United away, out of reach, beyond all possibility. They couldn’t even do that.
“Swansea were there for the taking. Their season was over, they rested key players and this was as gentle an end-of-season fixture as could have been envisaged. In the end, City were a breakaway goal from handing the advantage back to their neighbours.
“They saw the game out, but only because Swansea were ready to declare summer. The lap of appreciation summed it up, Swansea players waving to an appreciative crowd and strolling with their kids on a spring afternoon. The children, delightful, ran around chasing balls and each other as fast as their little legs could carry them. At least someone made full use of the pitch.”
But ESPN’s City correspondent Jonathan Smith feels that the result was more in the balance than elsewhere, saying: “It was in the balance right until the final kick with City unable to kill off a much-changed Swansea side as the nerves took hold at the Liberty Stadium.
“It was a disappointing way to finish off a disappointing Premier League campaign but the likely top four finish will go some way to protecting Pellegrini's legacy.
“Pellegrini did at least win one trophy, the Capital One Cup, and will be able to reflect that his side reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, representing a huge stride forward in Europe for a club that had not gone beyond the round of 16 in five previous attempts.”
There’s even a snippet of transfer news, at least of sorts. Leicester’s N’Golo Kante was said to be on City’s radar last week, but now the Leicester Mercury reports that “sources at the Etihad” say we have “no interest” in the midfielder.
That will undoubtedly end that line of speculation….hmm – more news and gossip tomorrow!