A fine second-half showing from Roberto Mancini's men helped put memories of Munich behind them as Steve Kean faces further calls to resign at Ewood ParkManchester City ended a turbulent week with a win after comfortably beating Blackburn Rovers 4-0 at Ewood Park.
Second-half goals from Adam Johnson, Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri and Stefan Savic secured all three points for Roberto Mancini's men, who bounced back from their ignominious showing against Bayern Munich in midweek in impressive fashion.
The first half was one of frustration for Mancini and his side, with Blackburn's resilience at the back a mere sidenote to the suspected groin injury picked up by Sergio Aguero, with the striker limping down the tunnel after 25 minutes to make it a terrible week for the club's Argentine forwards.
Roberto Mancini made six changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Bayern at the Allianz Arena, with Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksander Kolarov, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Adam Johnson all drafted in to the starting XI, with Edin Dzeko’s petulance after being substituted in Germany earning him a place on the bench.
The hosts were also hoping to bounce back from disappointment, having been hammered 3-1 away to Newcastle a week ago, and Steve Kean shuffled the pack accordingly, bringing Radosav Petrovic, Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Goodwillie in place of Michel Salgado, Martin Olsson and Mauro Formica.
The changes to Mancini's side and the defeat in Bavaria looked to have had little effect on their confidence, whilst the City fans showed their faith in the Italian from kick-off, chanting his name to leave little doubt over who had won the war for hearts and minds between Tevez and the former Inter man in the blue half of Manchester.
Such assurance from the players nearly yielded a goal within the opening 10 minutes, only for Balotelli to blast an easy chance from 10 yards over, having been played in brilliantly by midfield catalyst David Silva.
Chances were proving few and far between but the Spaniard was the coolest man on the pitch under the sweltering Lancashire heat, playing in Yaya Toure only for the Ivorian to waste his chance but as the visitors looked to turn the screw, one came loose, with Aguero forced off with a suspected groin injury to be replaced by Nasri.
It affected Mancini's men, of that there can be no doubt, as their swagger turned to frustration, with Balotelli's curling effort from 25 yards out flying wide, and as half time arrived, there had been plenty of possession but little penetration from the Eastlands outfit.
The visitors clearly felt like they had something to prove and arrived for the second 45 minutes in dynamic fashion, with Silva and Nasri linking up superbly on the left before the Spaniard hammered a dangerous effort off Chris Samba shortly after the restart.
Super Mario | Balotelli beats Scott Dann to score City's second goal
It was only the start and a matter of minutes later, Balotelli cut in from the left to sweep a fine right-footed effort on to Robinson's far post. Blackburn were holding on.
Not for long, however, and it was a strike that even Rovers' brave resistance could do nothing about, as Johnson latched on to Kolarov's cleared corner before hitting an unstoppable left-footed strike into the former England 'keeper's top corner.
It took only two more minutes for the game to be put to bed by Balotelli, after some excellent work from Nasri down the left played in the Italian, and the youngster got in front of former Birmingham defender Scott Dann to knock home at the near post.
Blackburn's response held little threat and despite hard work from Junior Hoilett down the left, a third seemed inevitable and it was to come through Nasri, who had been superb off the bench. With Silva having embarrassed the hosts' defence, the Spain international simply laid it on a plate for the £24 million man, whose effort hit off Lowe and past Robinson - memories of Munich were disappearing for Mancini.
Such comforts weren't forthcoming for Kean, who faced deafening boos and calls to resign from the home fans as substitute Savic wrapped it up late on to add further gloss to a second-half performance befitting true title contenders.
The final whistle came shortly after and City's doubters had been roundly silenced. This time, there were only smiles on Mancini’s bench.
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