Sparkling Silva polishes up City as Sneijder drops United hint
Balotelli and Dzeko both on target in 3-0 win over Inter while Mancini says Bellamy could join Celtic
Monday 01 August 2011
So Manchester City start as they mean to go on: with silverware. Two months after ending a 35-year drought with the FA Cup, they yesterday added the rather less historic Dublin Super Cup. Nevertheless, pre-season gimmick or not, it's a nice habit to get into.
A less appealing one for City is not so easily shed though: their victory was overshadowed by Manchester United. Or, rather, United's extended pursuit of Wesley Sneijder. The Internazionale playmaker deflected questions about his future after yesterday's 3-0 defeat, but did not exactly deny a transfer was possible.
"There is always a chance something will happen but we will see," Sneijder said. "I am happy to train every day with my colleagues and play and whatever happens after that we will see."
His manager Gian Piero Gasperini, meanwhile, admitted there had been contact between United and Sneijder. "I appreciate there's been an offer but it's with Inter the negotiations should take place – I'm not necessarily worried. It's normal to have this type of situation. When clubs have players like this they tend to keep them but when they do sell them it's on their own conditions."
On the actual pitch yesterday Sneijder was eclipsed by the supreme David Silva. The Spaniard set up City's second goal with a glorious reverse through-ball for Edin Dzeko.
"Silva is a fantastic player," the City manager Roberto Mancini said. "He is incredible. Passes like that are simple for him. He has everything."
No one reads too much into any pre-season tournament but there were still some real positives for Mancini to take beyond the tidy nature of the victory. For a start, the thought of Silva combining with Sergio Aguero – who was too fatigued to play – must be hugely appealing for City.
But, secondly, there was the form of City's other strikers. Mario Balotelli opened the scoring against his old club on 45 minutes with an excellent header. That was only one good aspect of a disciplined display that was in marked contrast to last week's backheel antics in America.
"Mario played well," Mancini said. "I think that if he plays with the same concentration like he did today then we will be happy. It's important he concentrates.
"I talk to him every day. I hope he has learned from what happened last week. I think he has to, but I don't really know. I hope he will understand, but we will see in the future. What I do know is that if he plays like today he can be one of the best players."
Just after half-time Balotelli's strike partner Dzeko scored from Silva's pass. His composed finish reflected a performance that was much more assured than those of his first games for the club at the start of the year. "The first two or three months [after signing] are very difficult," Mancini explained, "but he has a lot to offer us."
The only issue arising from such form, though, is City's huge surplus of strikers – particularly if Carlos Tevez actually stays. "When Carlos comes back on Thursday we will have four strikers fighting for the shirts," Mancini added. "That's good for us. When you are playing in four competitions, we need that."
The queues at shooting practice are likely to be eased, however, by the departures of Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor. "It is possible there have been conversations about Craig Bellamy between us and Celtic," the City manager confirmed. "I met Craig two days ago. I spoke with him for 10 minutes. It was a friendly conversation, everything was normal. He told me something I want to keep to myself. If Celtic want Craig, he is a good player and I think he can go.
"It's the same with Adebayor. I don't have any update. He wants to go to Real Madrid and, if they want to take him, they can." As to taking Samir Nasri from Arsenal, Mancini did not want to risk angering Arsène Wenger again."Nasri is an Arsenal player and I don't want to speak about him."
Mancini remains insistent, however, that – despite yesterday's impressive display and even Adam Johnson's late third goal – securing at least Nasri and someone else is vital to finally overshadowing United. And not just in the Community Shield on Sunday.
Goals: Manchester City Balotelli 45, Dzeko 46, Johnson 90
Internazionale (4-5-1) Cesar; Bianchetti, Crisetig (Muntari, 25), Ranocchia, Chivu (Mariga, 75); Stankovic, Caldirola (Natalino, 68), Sneijder (Santon, 75), Pandev (Castaignos, 53), Alvarez (Pazzini 64); Eto'o
Manchester City (4-3-3): Hart; Richards, Kolarov (Rekik, 87), Kompany, Lescott; De Jong, Touré (Suarez, 88), Milner (Johnson, 80); Silva (Barry 80), Balotelli (Wright-Phillips, 74), Dzeko.
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