Jonny Forumer: Man City fans discuss Mancini’s 3-5-2 fascination

Jonny ForumerWho cares what a bunch of disinterested hacks have to say when you can get the skinny direct from those to whom it matters most? Well, good news – Football Burp’s very own Jonny Forumer, lurker extraordinaire, is here to collate choice message board analysis so you can get the lowdown from the people who really know what they’re on about. Take it away, Jonny…

Morning folks, Jonny Forumer signing in. Any Manchester City fans watching Micah Richards’s interview after last night’s 3-1 Champions League defeat at Ajax will have been concerned to hear the defender suggesting that he and his team mates weren’t all that accustomed to playing 3-5-2, calling into question Roberto Mancini’s decision to switch to that formation after the Dutch side went 2-1 up. As such, I hung around online City joints Blue Moon and MCFCForum listening in on folks debating whether or not this tactical switch was to blame on another disappointing European night for the Premier League champions…

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini
Mancini… Tinkering on the brink? (Image: Roger Goraczniak)

BlueMoonz1977, Blue Moon…

Said this a few weks ago…the 3-5-2 formation is a disaster waiting to happen and as again proved to be last night. For some stupid reason to switch to 3 at the back when the opposite team have the majority of possesion and look threatening is just plain daft.

It needs to be shelved and kicked out for good because it does not work for us

Osbourne05, MCFCForum…

A back three is not an option when we go a goal down, it’s defensive formation which is meant to help us keep the ball. Something we are more than capable of. Both times (against Dortmund and tonight) it has made us play deeper. Also throwing on 4 strikers and removing both centre midfielders was a clear act of desperation.

ranxerox, Blue Moon…

It’s just not working for us, I don’t see the benefit. A 3 man defense takes a lot of work to perfect, it’s not something you can chop and change easily. It seemed obvious Clichy was not comfortable with the switch.

citizen_blue, MCFCForum…

Mancini getting stick already but IMHO he didnt really get much wrong, other than a ten minute spell trying out this 3 at the back. He has been let down by his players tonight who, collectively gave the ball away far too much and put ourselves under pressure.

The three at the back doesnt work but that isnt why we lost. We were shit before we went three at the back, we were shit when we went three at the back and we were shit when we stopped it again.

Our players had no composure on the ball and this is why we are stuggling in the UCL. Take out the 2 games against a very poor Villareal, we have won only one of 7 games now, and that was pretty much a training game against an already qualified Bayern Munich. Thats 5 points out of 21 excluding them Villareal games. 11 from 27 including those games. That form is not good enough, even though we are new to the UCL.

Ray78, Blue Moon…

Mancini looked how Napoli deployed the system and formation and thought he could adopt it at City. A dangerous policy and so far it is leaving us wide open.

tonyblue, MCFCForum…

Can someone answer me this please…..

For years now every man and his dog has gone about playing differently when in Europe whether that be at club level or international level. And with the exception of a few teams such as Manure,Chelsea and Arsenal they have all struggled to be successful.
When a team such as Fulham or Stoke qualify for Europe do they change their style of play? Or do they continue in the premier league way? Because although they may not have won any Euopean silver ware they have put in good performances and got surprising results compared to say such as us.
Does Dortmund or Ajax or Madrid think ” we must play the english way when they enter these competitions? I’ll bet not.

I think we should play exactly the way we play in the league and stop this change to the european way of playing.

SkyBlue17, Blue Moon…

Our defenders are bloody clueless when it comes to defending in a 3-5-2.

Yes, it leaves us more vulnerable to counters. But it’s suppose to drop to a 5-3-2 when we’re defending which makes it harder to break us down. Instead we usually end up defending with a jagged 4-4-2 because the players just don’t get it.

BlueMoonRiber, MCFCForum…

Mancini’s tactics were awful today. Yeah, we conceded a second goal due to some rather pathetic zonal marking, but we started the 2nd half brightly and were mounting pressure on them. Reverting to a back three seemed like a needless and desperate shift in formation that did nothing but unsettle the team and ultimately allow another goal. It looked like Keystone Cops out there for 10 mins or so.

I’ve always been a supporter of Mancini, but I now have to question whether or not he can carry us deep into Europe. 1 point from 3 games with this squad is baffling. We drew a tough group this season for certain, but we’ve been outplayed in all three games so far. There’s still a slim chance to pull this CL campaign from the fire, but Mancini will have to figure out a different solution to the problem, whatever he thinks that is.

Blue Heaven, Blue Moon…

If you’re going to implement a 3-5-2, then you have to drill the players in that formation for an entire preseason. Our defenders clearly do not know how to properly play this formation – isn’t that obvious?

That being said, the 3-5-2 switch is not why we lost this fixture, as we also seem quite confused playing formations with four at the back.

Who is Angelo Gregucci and what is his role in all of this???

Mr. Aguia, Blue Moon…

I disagree because as soon as we went to a back 3 we all the momentum. I thought we dominated most of the game till that point. It was a total panic move to go to a back 3 and the team lost all confidence after that move. Clichy isn’t a cb so I don’t know why Mancini insists on forcing players into roles they aren’t comfortable with. Kolo can’t play a back 3. Lescott can’t play a back 3. Zab can’t play a back 3. So if going to a back 3 was a possibility then he should have had Nastasic in the starting lineup. I’m not a fan of the back 3 but if they are going to go to it then you have to have the right players on the pitch.

Marvin, Blue Moon…

In the Champions League we have looked vulnerable. I wouldn’t say we have in the Premiership.

And WBA with 11 against a 10 man City is a tougher proposition than Ajax. Is it a mental thing? That last minute defeat at the Bernabeu put the skids under us. However still time to put it right, and a win will get us going

WNRH, Blue Moon…

It’s successful if you have the right players, you need 3 decent centre backs who are comfortable with the ball, you need two wing backs, proper wing backs not defenders who can attack ok, and wingers who get back ok.

The reason why not many teams use it is probably because it’s a formation you have to stick with all season. If you decide to play 4 at the back one game you make yourself weak as you don’t have any fullbacks, you have two wing backs so you are basically playing 2 at the back.

If Mancini wanted to play with this then he should have stuck to it from the get go, it’s not something you can just implement whenever you want, it’s a complicated formation.

dakeb, MCFCForum…

People are getting hung up on Mancini’s tinkering but the bottom line is we conceded two goals before a went to a back three. The players are to blame not Mancini.

They forgot how to pass the ball to each other, how to press the team up the pitch. Yaya was poor, Nasri was poor. Lescott to blame for second goal.

fbloke, MCFCForum…

A couple of things strike me about last nights performance which everyone agrees was way below acceptable.

Firstly the majority of players played badly in whatever formation they were at the time, there was very little of the City we saw last season in the PL and fleeting this one too.

That may or may not be Mancini’s fault but I tend to lean towards the players needing to take that on the chin themselves.

Yaya was again well off his expected levels, Barry seems to have become lethargic supertanker Barry again, Dzeko and Aguero were meh! at best.

Vinny still seems nervous and I am sorry but if you recorded the match watch Lescott and his truly woeful distribution and you will see why we deeded Nastasic in there instead.

Secondly I think Mancini is guilty of expecting too much from his players. They obviously are not good enough for what he is asking of them and he should know that before they play a game, he should know their capabilities and so he is right when he accepts the blame for not preparing them.

But the signs are there that what Mancini stated before the summer – that we needed better players to be competitive in Europe – is exactly right.

Micah seems to only be able to play in one formation, 442. Thats something we will hardly ever play so perhaps he will have to go?

Clichy was puzzled by the move to 3 at teh back – well this is a player who has vast experience and should be able to anything asked of him by his manger and for the record Clichy HAS played in that role for France, Arsenal and HAS been asked to do that in training for City – perhaps he should go?

Dzeko has proven again that he canot start and be effective, I would have wanted more pace and mobility especially as (other than Lescotts pointless punts) we dont play to a big mans head we play to feet.

I could go on but it all comes down to players accepting they failed and a manager perhaps getting ahead of his squads development in what he is asking them to do.

And I blame the players more than I blame the manager because they are paid enough to play in any effing role if asked.

BlueMoonRiver, MCFCForum…

I agree the players shoulder the blame for the first two goals, but it was the formation shift that effectively took us out of the game. I can appreciate trying to chase the game, but we were beginning to regain control without it up until the second goal.

No doubt, Mancini IN. But as I said in the post-match thread, I think it’s fair to question how far he can take us in Europe at this point. He brought Inter great domestic success for the first time in years, but he was eventually kicked to the curb for their constant underachievement in Europe. Are we seeing a similar trend forming with us? I’m not sure. I want Mancini around for the long haul, but further disappointments in the CL will not help this possibility.

the blue panther, Blue Moon…

At the moment, the defenders aren’t playing with any confidence, and the chopping and changing of formation just makes things worse. If we hadn’t conceded a flukey 3rd goal last night,we may have turned it round, but, we conceded it, so the rest is history.

The worst thing for me was to change the formation at all when Mancini didn’t need to. It was a knee jerk reaction to a bad second goal, which resulted from the zonal marking system – again – and players not attacking the ball as it came in. The ball wasn’t quite in their area so they didn’t move towards it and take responsibility – that for me was a sign of a lack of confidence. I’m not sure who all the 3 were, but the 3 players at the near post area could have reacted quicker, 2 of them were Lescott and Toure. They were ball watching instead of being aware of where their runners were. The guy who scored was unmarked on his run, and on his header – which was only just powerful enough to get over the line – an easy clearance for Clichy – as was identitfied on TV, if Clichy had been a yard nearer the goal – he was in no man’s land, and again, could have taken the initiative and moved back a little once he had seen that the corner was going in to the near post.

At the time, I thought that maybe he took off Lescott because he was blaming him for the goal – to me, he hasn’t got confidence in Lescott anymore. Personally, I’ve had more confidence in Lescott defensively than Kompany so far this season.

Anyway, my point is, we were in the ascendancy at the beginning of the second half. We conceded that poor goal NOT through any defect in our formation, and therefore a change of formation wasn’t required imho.

The change which followed undermined us because it appeared to be unpopular with the players. Kompany wasn’t having a good match – again – and Lescott’s removal put more pressure on him. I thought Yaya got into a worsening strop as the game went on after his injury and wasn’t having a good game – neither was Barry – so the middle was going to get exposed more by the change, and Ajax are clever enough to expose weaknesses. True enough, they did so – but the 3rd goal itself was very flukey. Sadly, that kind of thing happens when you’re under pressure. Players slip – as Kompany is prone to do when he’s under pressure. The centre opened up for the Ajax guy; he shot; Clichy as last man in the middle (where he shouldn’t ever have to be, ideally), sticks out his bad foot and deflects it past Hart.

I’d love to say ‘You couldn’t make it up’ but obviously as it’s City, shit happens. Their first was a great goal, and bang on half time. We came out all guns blazing, but didn’t really look like scoring. Then we conceded 2 very bad – soft – goals.

I have more issues about the formation than the 3 at the back, but everyone sees these things differently, and Mancini knows a lot more than I ever will. Despite the fact that I like Mancini, he is looking increasingly like Mr Hapless in Europe to the outside world. City lost from a winning position – again – and now they won’t be confident should they get in a winning position again in this group. If he turns it round this season in the Champs League, I’m a Dutchman!

Hopefully, he’ll live and learn, win us the Premier League again, and we can do better next year – 3rd time lucky.

Do you think Mancini’s tactics were to blame last night, City fans? Have your say in the comments section below…