So far the Champions League has proved a steep learning curve for Manchester City, they were rattled by Napoli’s composure and ambition a fortnight ago and Bayern Munich showed just how uncompromising a competition this is with a convincing 2-0 win last night.
City were given a lesson worth remembering on a night Roberto Mancini will be keen to forget for a number of reasons.
Mancini disclosed that Carlos Tevez had refused to go on as a substitute in the second half when City most needed the Argentine as an outlet for the constant Bayern pressure.
“For me it’s a bad situation because it’s impossible if a player refuses to go in and will not help the team”, Mancini said after the game before all but declaring that Tevez’s career in Manchester is over.
“It’s impossible,” he said, “I can’t accept that one player refused to go in.”
Of those who did take part in an entertaining affair, Mancini appeared none too pleased, the usually composed Italian was livid on the touchline for much of the second half.
He believes his team are capable of better than this but such was gap in quality that David Silva spent much of the night as a secondary right back helping Micah Richards cope in vain with the onslaught of Franck Ribery and Philipp Lahm.
Mancini’s side started brightly and may have cause for complaint that a penalty wasn’t given when they were in the ascendency as Jerome Boateng clumsily brought down Richards in the box but the referee judged it a fair challenge and it cannot be said that on balance it would have effected the outcome.
After Mario Gomez’s first goal City looked lost where before they had shown a poise and assuredness to match one of the giants of this competition.
For much of the opening exchanges it was in fact Bayern who looked like they were coming to grips with playing at this level but after 30 minutes the gap in class began to show as the home side fired two warning shots that went unheeded in the City defence.
First Ribery, who was in his best form, found himself in space after Yaya Toure ventured too far forward and picked out Tomas Muller on the edge of the box only for Gael Clichy to throw himself in the way of the German international’s shot.
Then, Gareth Barry was caught in possession in a manner similar to that which gifted Napoli a goal leaving the City defence exposed and outnumbered five to three.
But again Cthey were let off the hook as Bastian Schweinsteiger could not decide on a pass and his shot went well over.
Bayern did not need to be asked a third time though, Ribery found himself alone against Micah Richards and the Frenchman ignored Philipp Lahm’s overlapping run to cut inside easily before unleashing a vicious shot.
Joe Hart could do little but palm the ball out to Muller who did not have time to react and blasted it straight at the keeper but unfortunately for the English keeper it fell to Gomez, who does not miss from six yards.
The threat of Lahm and Ribery was constant, so much so that Eden Dzeko had to track the German left-back all the way along the flank but could not catch him and instead conceded a free kick to the left hand side of Hart’s goal.
With half-time on their minds the City defence watched Toni Kroos’ ball as it glanced off Daniel van Buyten’s head only for Hart to react brilliantly but failingly as Gomez was again in the right place to feed off the rebound and the game was out of sight.
The constant running and willingness which had given them a handle on the game in the opening half an hour disappeared and the second half provided damning evidence that the City project is far from complete as Bayern moved the ball around effortlessly while the newcomers chased shadows.
On the hour mark Mancini conceded the tie by withdrawing Dzeko for Nigel DeJong and the Bosnian aimed a torrent of abuse at his manager as he took his place on the bench.
By that stage though it was clear to all that the match was all over bar the shouting.
But Tevez on Wednesday morning claimed he did not refuse to play he said in his statement “I would like to apologise to all Manchester City fans, with whom I have always had a strong relationship, for any misunderstanding that occurred in Munich.”
He added: “They understand that when I am on the pitch I have always given my best for the club. In Munich on Tuesday I had warmed up and was ready to play. This is not the right time to get into specific details as to why this did not happen. But I wish to state that I never refused to play.
“There was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood. Going forward I am ready to play when required and to fulfil my obligations.”