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Shearer says: Man City didn’t put in a shift versus Lyon

| 21.09.2018

Coral ambassador reviews Champions League drama

It was an interesting first week of the Champions League, and Mauricio Pochettino did surprise me again with the players he left out of the Spurs team to face Inter Milan on Tuesday night.

He changed three of his back four, but as the manager he has the right to do that when the team is not delivering the results he’s after. 

But he would have been hoping to get a positive reaction, instead they folded towards the end of the match. 

Problems for Pochettino?

At 1-1 they should have had the know-how to come away with a point and that would not have been a bad result, but they were unable to do that.

Pochettino was riled after the game. He was not happy with the questioning from the journalists but he has to face that, you can’t only face it when it is going well.

It’s probably the first time we have seen him get annoyed, which tells you how he feels about how things are going this season.

By changing the team, I think he was trying to send a message to his players saying if you don’t deliver, I am going to leave you out.

Unfortunately for him, it backfired.  Of course it’s been well publicised that they didn’t bring any players in during the summer, and that is something they may live to regret.

Firmino and Sturridge shone for Liverpool

I was looking forward to watching Liverpool’s game against PSG on Tuesday night, and it didn’t disappoint. 

Liverpool went about it in their usual way, there was some brilliant attacking football on display, and they got off to a great start in the competition.  The game also highlighted the strength in depth this Liverpool squad has, with Firmino coming off the bench to score a terrific winner.

It was great to see Daniel Sturridge back and playing well.  Nobody has ever doubted his ability, his problem has been staying fit and injury-free for long enough. 

Looking at his career, he has been at a number of top clubs and they have moved him on, which tells you how many issues he has had, as these clubs don’t let top players go without good reason.

In terms of England, we don’t have a lot of depth in the forward department, but unfortunately it is far too early to be talking about giving him an England shirt again on the back of just one or two games.

Man City’s defeat is easy to explain

Manchester City began with a surprise defeat against Lyon, but the reasons for it were very simple, the players turned up expecting to win, and then didn’t put in a shift. 

You can’t do that against any opposition, nevermind in the Champions League. 

Once you start slowly, it is very difficult to pick it up, but it had absolutely nothing to do with Pep Guardiola being in the stands. 

As a player you have to go about your business in the right way, against Lyon in the first half they did not want to work and they got punished. 

They are fortunate as there are still a lot of games left to play in the group for them to put things right and I am sure this will be a wakeup call for them.

The Etihad atmosphere

It was surprising to see so many empty seats around the Etihad.  I know it is not always cheap to watch football these days but given the recent success they have had and the football they play, you would expect to see the place packed out. 

When you compare it to Anfield the previous night, it was chalk and cheese.  Maybe it is because of the heritage Liverpool have in Europe, they always seem to pack the place out and create a great atmosphere. 

Another thing that surprised me was the fans were booing the players off at half-time. 

I know they weren’t at their best, but I did have a little chuckle to myself, if this City side is getting booed, what hope does any other team have?!

Mourinho and Man United back on track

Manchester United have now had three away wins on the spin following their victory against Young Boys. 

Since they were beaten at home by Spurs last month, United have bounced back and won all of their games, while Spurs – who you would have thought would go on a great run after that victory – have all have lost all three.

I wasn’t just impressed with United’s win in Switzerland, I also liked the way they played on Saturday against Watford, in particular in the second half where it looked like the players were fighting for their manager. 

The character they had to show will tell Jose a lot and he will take encouragement from that.

Pogba is back too

On Wednesday night we saw the Paul Pogba we saw at the World Cup, and that is the player they need on a regular basis. 

He needs to do that at least five games out of six for United as he just has not been consistent enough since re-joining the club, but we all know the quality is there.

Who wins the Champions League?

Despite the victory against Young Boys, I don’t see United winning the competition. I believe as we get deeper into the tournament, they will get found out defensively.

City will obviously improve and be in the mix but the team that have really impressed me is Liverpool, they do look the real deal.

They have had two tough tests recently, Tottenham away and PSG at home and they have come through with wins in both games. 

Klopp demands that every player works hard in the team, and when you look at someone like Neymar who undoubtedly has talent, he would not fit into the Liverpool team as he does not work hard enough.

Magic Messi and a crying Cristiano

Barcelona are obviously one of the favourites to go all the way, and when you have a little genius in the team like Lionel Messi, they can beat any team in this competition. 

While Messi scored yet another hat-trick this week, unfortunately for Cristiano Ronaldo, it wasn’t such a good week as he was sent off in his first Champions League match for Juventus.  

However it should never have been a red card, and I hope he doesn’t miss the games against Manchester United. 

Mind you, I can safely say I never reacted to a red or yellow card like he did, I’ll be kind and just say he was showing some emotion!



Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer played his entire career at the top level of English football, winning the Premier League title with Blackburn in 1994-95. The following summer he signed for his hometown club, Newcastle United, for a then world record £15 million fee.

He ended his playing career with a record 260 Premier League goals, which still stands today. He also won 63 caps for England, including 34 as captain, and among his 30 international goals were five scored at Euro 96, a total that won him the Golden Boot at that tournament.

Now the chief pundit on Match Of The Day, Alan was one of the first two players inducted into the Premier League Hall Of Fame this year.