Like the shallowest of conversations, thoughts of Manchester City rarely get away from the issue of money. It can buy a lot of good players – not enough to prevent Roberto Mancini from bemoaning injuries, though – but cannot prevent inexplicable goalkeeping errors like the one City suffered from Joe Hart on Saturday. Nor, according to Blackburn's Chris Samba, can it buy any sort of togetherness.
"You know what is happening at Manchester City, with them spending big money and massive wages, but football is more than that – you have to believe that, and we have shown that," Samba said. "Of course to attract the best players they have to pay the big wages, but team spirit is something you can't buy.
"It has been very hard work from [our] manager to bring the players together, and we showed how important desire and team spirit really is. The spirit we have has given us the attitude that we can do anything."
That may be so, but Rovers could not claim their goal at Eastlands came from anything but an uncharacteristic Hart error on 25 minutes. From Morten Gamst Pedersen's thoughtless hoof up the pitch, Hart raced out of his area and called for Kolo Touré to leave it – only to miss the ball and have to watch as Nikola Kalinic scored.
Patrick Vieira pulled City level on 56 minutes after meeting a Carlos Tevez cross, but Blackburn kept their shape and a share of the points with some desperate defence late on.
Visiting teams packing the midfield is the immediate worry for Mancini, who hopes to have Emmanuel Adebayor, Nigel de Jong and Wayne Bridge back from injury for Thursday's Europa League game at Red Bull Salzburg, where David Silva is also expected to start. "Every team will play with this method and we must find a solution. For Blackburn this was a good situation," Mancini said.
"They defended with lots of players and then looked to counter-attack. Every game is going to be like this for us, like it is for Chelsea and Manchester United. This is a new experience for City. Normally when teams have come [here] they have come to win. Now they come to draw."
Manchester City (4-3-3): Hart; Richards, K Touré, Kompany, Lescott; Milner, Vieira (Barry, 65), Y Touré; Johnson (Silva, 85), Tevez, Wright-Phillips (Jo, 56). Substitutes not used Given (gk), Zabaleta, Santa Cruz, Boyata.
Blackburn Rovers (4-2-3-1): Robinson; Salgado (Chimbonda, h-t), Samba, Nelsen (Olsson, 40), Givet; Jones, Grella (N'Zonzi, 58); Mame Diouf, Pedersen, E Diouf; Kalinic. Substitutes not used Bunn (gk), Emerton, Dunn, Benjani.
Booked: City Vieira, Y Touré. Blackburn Chimbonda.
Man of the match Johnson
Possession Manchester City 62% Blackburn 38% Shots on target Manchester City 14 Blackburn 2 Referee M Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear) Att 44,246
Match rating 6/10