RTÉ soccer analyst Eamon Dunphy has lambasted the attitude of Manchester City’s players, and said the overall “project” at the club has gone “pear-shaped”.
Last season’s champions were thumped 4-2 by their Manchester rivals Manchester United on Sunday, and have lost four out of their last five games, including an exit from the Champions League.
Analysing the Manchester derby and the plight of Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Dunphy said City were still likely to secure one of the Champions League qualification places, but warned that morale at the club was very low, and called for heads to roll.
"You can sack Pellegrini, but you can’t give Nasri a heart transplant"
“Manchester City’s next two matches, I think, are West Ham and Villa, West Ham at home: they’re very winnable matches for a squad with that kind of talent,” Dunphy said, before the Liverpool v Newcastle game on Monday evening.
“But, the way City’s morale is at the moment, you would definitely say that if Liverpool get three points tonight, and get within touching distance, put a bit of heat on them, you wouldn’t know how they would react.
“On the whole, they probably remain favourites to qualify for the Champions League, but they’re an awful lot.”
Dunphy singled out the attitude of players like Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure as symptoms of a wider malaise at the club, and insisted the fault lay above Pellegrini.
“They’re all on massive money,” he said. “Nasri is on £180,000 a week, and he’s a pup. He can’t even get into the starting 11, he’s thrown out of the French squad.
“So, whoever is running the show – and it isn’t Pellegrini, it’s two guys from Barcelona – they’re the ones who need to be sacked. The Manchester City project has gone pear-shaped in a big way, and there isn’t any way out. I mean, you can sack Pellegrini, but you can’t give Nasri a heart transplant, or Yaya Toure, for that matter.”
"It’s like me walking into a science lab: they don’t know what they’re doing" - Dunphy on Man City's owners
He also suggested that City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed, should shoulder much of the blame, and said the problems at the club were to be expected, given his lack of familiarity with the world of soccer.
“People come in from Abu Dhabi with bulging pockets, and big chequebooks; they don’t know what they’re doing. I mean, it’s like me walking into a science lab: they don’t know what they’re doing. So, they make mistakes in hiring, not just the players; they hire the wrong people to run the club. They don’t understand the English game.
“They think if you pay Yaya Toure £280,000 a week after tax, he won’t be unhappy when he doesn’t get a birthday cake, and he’ll go out and give you 100%.
“The goal they conceded last Monday night at Crystal Palace from a set piece: Yaya Toure ducked. He ducked. And the ball went over his head into the back of the net. Lost the match 2-0. You couldn’t make that up.
“Now, if you have people like that in your dressing-room, in the training ground, and, supposedly giving leadership, you’re doomed. So, whoever signed him, whoever gave him that contract, should be fired.”
For more listen to Game On, weeknights from 7pm on 2FM