Manchester City have been forced to gather their own evidence to prove to Uefa that their players were racially abused in Porto last Thursday night, sending video footage which demonstrates that the matter should be vigorously investigated.
Mobile phone footage easily available on the internet offers compelling evidence that monkey noises from Porto's fans were being made towards Mario Balotelli and Yaya Touré in Estadio do Dragao during City's 2-1 win. City have compiled a collection of other such videos for the consideration of the European governing body. To City's indignation the only contact from Uefa, with the club having lodged the complaint about the alleged abuse of players, has been an email declaring that City are to be the subject of disciplinary proceedings after a section of their own fans let off fireworks at kick-off. City remain unsure that their own concerns are being treated seriously.
Uefa indicated yesterday that they are still at the "evidence-gathering stage" of their inquiries into the racism allegations, though the fact that officials in Nyon seem to be further ahead in their firework investigation is a source of some bemusement in Manchester.
Porto, who arrive in the city today ahead of tomorrow's 5pm kick off, have denied the claims. They insist their supporters were merely shouting "Kun, Kun, Kun", in reference to the Argentinian City striker Sergio Aguero's commonly used nickname. The video footage appears to disprove that. Sources close to Balotelli have made it clear that since he has been on the receiving end of such abuse before – during his time at Internazionale – further abuse would not surprise, nor affect him.
Meanwhile, City's football development executive, Patrick Vieira, has said that his club "are a better side than United" and that the Premier League title is for them to throw away.
"It's in our hands to win the title," Vieira said. "When you look at our team and how we played since the start of the season and you look at how United have played since the start of the season, the fact is that we are better than them. But they know how to win. Alex Ferguson knows the league better than anybody else, they win titles year after year. They know what to do to win the league.
"As a club it's quite new for us to be in that situation. But we have players with experience, we have a manager with the experience, we have the desire to do it and the focus is there."
Vieira also believes that City have become imbued with the "arrogance" that saw an Arsenal side in which Vieira was a key component pip United to the title by a point in 1998. "At Arsenal we believed in ourselves," he said. "Our self-belief was really high, maybe some people will say that was arrogance, but it was just self-belief. We knew we were good enough to win the league because we had players who were playing at the best and we had the self-belief that we would do it. [We'd say] 'We will beat United, we will beat Liverpool, we're going to win it'. Our self-belief was really high, and I believe that is what's happening at City. What I really like of this team is the atmosphere in the dressing room. There is a group of lads who have a really strong relationship. Really friendly and really strong. At Arsenal I liked going to training every day because the atmosphere was really good and I feel at City it is the same."
"[There is ] this relationship with the players who like to be together, who like to spend time together. Players who want to achieve the same objective."