Sunday 25 February 2018

James Lawton: Klopp building an empire as Mancini's smoulders in ruins

Banished from Europe, even its least glamorous corners, Manchester City face days of brutal self-examination. It is not as if they haven't come up to standard yet again at the highest level of the club game. They just haven't come up. They haven't shown their faces. They have been taught so many lessons, without benefit, that you have wonder if they are less a work in progress than one in ruins.

With Borussia Dortmund home free as serious players in the knock-out phase of the Champions League and key players like Robert Lewandowski, at the start, and Mario Gotze looking on, most instructive of all was the body language of their highly prized coach Jurgen Klopp.

This could only be highlighted by City's Roberto Mancini wearing more than ever the expression of a tragic hero in the dugout and Rafa Benitez facing another ordeal of hostility on the Stamford Bridge touchline tonight. Here, certainly, was a coach perfectly at peace with himself and, even more crucially, his young and brilliant team.

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