When Brian Kidd compared Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini to his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson nine days ago it was surely a case of the former Red making mischief.
Fergie must have pinched himself with disbelief when Kiddo the kidder claimed: “I’ve been lucky in some small way to have worked alongside Alex Ferguson and I can see so much of him in Roberto Mancini.
“His desire, his ambition, his passion, his will to win – it’s unbelievable,” gushed City’s assistant manager after City’s 3-1 win over no-hopers West Ham.
But the harsh reality that Mancini is a million miles away from showing any of the qualities that could emulate United’s longest serving manager was painfully apparent last night as City’s expensively assembled ragbag of over-rated prima donnas were crushed 2-1 in front of their own fans by Everton.
Despite being reduced to 10-men for the final half hour David Moyes’ men deservedly held on to record their first win in eight Premier League matches.
On the night Carlos Tevez withdrew his transfer request and retained the captain’s armband, the City skipper froze as Mancini’s men blew their big chance to go top at Christmas for the first time since 1929.
Tim Cahill and Leighton Baines brushed City aside with the goals that gave Everton a 2-nil lead at the break. Victor Anichebe was dismissed when he collected his second yellow card on the hour. But all City could muster was a Yaya Toure shot deflected in off Phil Jagielka.
City were also reduced to 10 when Kolo Toure was sent off in injury time and red-faced Mancini was forced to admit: “We missed a big opportunity.”
But the most telling feature of a night of disappointment for City fans was their side’s inability to mount any real pressure on Everton. Where the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea would have cranked up the pressure on a side hanging on with 10-men, Mancini and his players lacked the tactical know-how and killer instinct to turn the tables on their visitors.