The disappointment of Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final exit is massive having gone so far in the competition after so many years of underachievement. However, thoughts must quickly return to the bread and butter of the Premier League where the Citizens are in real and present danger of being relocated out of the top four.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini reflected after the defeat by Real Madrid: "It has been a special season because we reached the semi-final. It was a very close game but we must finish now in the domestic game to try and qualify for the Champions League again."
Such a qualification would once have been a formality but Pellegrini has failed to win any of the nine games against the top six this season. With Arsenal seemingly secure once more in third place, it is City who are in the vulnerable fourth place spot with neighbours Manchester United and outsiders West Ham breathing down their necks.
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Any hangover from the defeat at the hands of Los Blancos would spell curtains for their Champions League hopes for next season and leave incoming boss Pep Guardiola with a massive rebuilding job to do.
With Vincent Kompany’s breakdown in the Bernabeu - his 33rd injury in eight years - Sergio Aguero also increasingly injury-prone and Yaya Toure set for a summer departure, it appears that the spine at the Etihad could be broken beyond repair.
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The team that won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup since 2011 needs an overhaul in order to move forward, but with so many individuals seemingly insecure about their own positions it would be understandable if the future of the club itself was not their primary concern.
There are good young players at the Etihad in Kelechi Iheanacho and Raheem Sterling, but even they may not be able to pick up the sizeable baton from the senior players at the club.
This year’s Capital One Cup trophy would be considered a successful return for most clubs but not for owner Sheikh Mansour. The Champions League semi-final exit is not a disaster but things could get a whole lot worse if the Manchester City mercenaries were to shoot themselves in the foot in the Premier League.
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