Reaction from this evening’s game against Brighton in the FA Cup.

Below-par

Let us not even consider the fodder for City fans that will have been provided by the hordes of empty seats; it is no excuse (well, not really) but you have to think the scheduling of this game, moved for TV as it was, really did not help the atmosphere of the game. This was an FA Cup quarter final and felt as flat as a reserve game.

Again, no excuse, but British culture isn’t used to games this late on a Saturday night and it felt like an odd inconvenience rather than a novelty. Much like a 5.15pm kick off time for the final. Perhaps it would be beneficial for the powers that be to concentrate on the traditions that made the competition what it was instead of trying these ‘innovative’ changes that can be pigeon-holed as terrible a mile off.

Below-par part 2

Neither team really got going in this game, despite the potential prize at stake. United’s supporters were hoping for a reaction in terms of their Champions League exit. They got it, in a way; they saw their team progress and ultimately that’s what counts. Do you blame the manager? Some will. Some feel it’s his responsibility solely to get the team playing better. He picked a side good enough to win and play well. They did one out of the two. On this occasion the opponents were worse.

A Shaw thing

… has to be lumping money on the full-back’s departure in the summer. He wasn’t terrible in the first half, despite the manager’s obvious remonstrations with him. Some supporters will be stunned as to how the manager can cull Shaw so quickly when other defenders have been responsible for greater ricks.

The half-time withdrawal of Shaw was symbolic, as the manager would have known. Everybody now knows how this story will end.