How do you assess Manchester City’s season so far?
I’m writing this after the hugely impressive derby victory, so my outlook is probably a little happier than it would otherwise have been. That said, apart from the joy at winning the match on Monday, the overwhelming feeling is ‘what if’. If we had shown similar levels of focus, drive and purpose throughout the season as we did against United, we wouldn’t be so far behind. In the league, performances have been disappointing. We’ve been largely predictable, insipid and laboured. When we play well, we’re virtually unstoppable, but we’ve hardly touched that level. Of course, second isn’t a bad achievement by any means, but the squad we possess should not be trailing so far in United’s wake.
You didn’t sign anyone in January. Do you think that has hampered your season?
Not particularly. We’ve lacked a clinical streak all season. There were plenty of games before Janaury in which we failed to kill sides off. Yes, signing a worldclass striker in the window would have helped but none of the top targets were available.
What areas of the team do you think will be improved in the summer?
It is quite clear we need at least one striker – Dzeko will leave and Tévez’s future is up in the air – plus a pacy wide man. Mancini is looking for a deep-lying creative midfielder and defensive cover, depending on what happens with Lescott and Kolo Touré.
Roberto Mancini has come under a bit more pressure this season. Do you think he’ll remain at the club if you don’t win any silverware?
It’s the key question, but no-one knows the answer except the heirarchy. In Mancini’s favour is the lack of top quality alternative. There is no-one available who stands out as suggesting he could take us to the next level. My personal view is that Mancini will still be here next season, but by default. He has his negatives but there’s no manager who could come in and guarantee moving us forward.
Balotelli left for AC Milan in January. Do you think he’s been missed?
In terms of his eccentricity, yes! He has always thrived on being the main striker with the side built around him. He didn’t have that at City, but has it for AC Milan and Italy. He struggled to adapt for us but there was a certain bond between him and the supporters.
Costel Pantilimon has been linked with a move to West Ham. How do you think he’s done this season?
He’s played in the cup games and done well. He’s an excellent back-up goalkeeper who would do well at most Premier League clubs. For his size, he’s a superb shot-stopper plus he’s becoming more authorititative.
Carlos Tevez is still viewed as a hero by most West Ham fans. Do you think he’ll remain at the club next season?
He’s got one year left on his contract and it’s one of the main talking points this summer. I’d guess he’ll see out his contract with City and then return to Argentina.
Who poses the biggest threat in the Man City XI?
Take your pick! On form, it could easily be any of Aguero, Silva, Yaya, or Tévez.
Which West Ham players would you have in your squad?
At a push, Andy Carroll could offer an aerial threat for the latter stages of a game if we wanted a more direct approach. Otherwise, without wanting to sound arrogant, no-one.
You predicted Man City to win the League and West Ham to finished tenth. Do you think that will change?
I wasn’t far off with West Ham’s prediction! We obviously won’t win the league but you won’t be far off 10th.