Positives were there but defending has to improve

Columnist Edward Seaman
Columnist Edward Seaman

Well last Saturday wasn’t quite the return to the Premier League we had all dreamed of.

The 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace was a stark reminder of how difficult, and frustrating, top flight life can be.

To all extents and purposes, City played well and to use the classic start of season cliché, you have to take the positives.

I thought in particular the link-up play and ball retention in midfield involving Graham Dorrans, Wes Hoolahan and Jonny Howson was of a high quality.

In fact, City had 62.9 percent possession, the third highest of any team on the opening weekend after Manchester City and Everton.

It was also positive to see City creating chances; Lewis Grabban the guilty party, missing a fantastic chance to put City in front.

And of course the result could have been so much different if Cameron Jerome’s spectacular effort had not been harshly ruled out at 2-1, but enough has been said about that and it’s time to move on — to use another cliché, decisions will even themselves out.

More of a concern for me was the ease in which Palace, who themselves have admitted they weren’t at their best, cut through our defence.

The defending, in particular for the second and third goals, was Championship standard, and it’s those sorts of mistakes that we need to cut out to have any real chance this season.

If we are frank about it, we can’t afford to be needing to score two or three goals each game just to stand a chance of getting a positive result.

Tomorrow we travel to Sunderland, a match that will better suit our style of play.

I fully expect Nathan Redmond and Jerome to start to inject some pace into the starting line-up and offer that counter-attacking threat you need away from home.

With Alex Neil’s unbeaten away record still intact, there is no reason not to feel confident as we make the long journey up north.