• Champions League

De Boer attacks tactically naive Man City players

ESPN staff
October 25, 2012
Roberto Mancini has drawn criticism for Manchester City's performance at Ajax © Getty Images

Ajax manager Frank de Boer has criticised Manchester City's players for both an inability to change tactics and their workrate as his side beat them 3-1 in Amsterdam.

City manager Roberto Mancini switched from 4-2-3-1 to a back three when he replaced Joleon Lescott with Aleksandar Kolarov after Ajax's second goal - only for Christian Eriksen to promptly add a third.

After the game, City's Micah Richards suggested that they prefer to play with a four-man defence.

But former Ajax, Barcelona and Holland defender De Boer exonerated Mancini and instead argued that top-class players should be tactically flexible enough to cope.

"If you are at the top level and your manager tells you two things, you have to be able to do it," he said.

He also faulted City's attacking players for failing to track back and help out their defenders.

Ajax's first goal came from a cross from their overlapping right-back Ricardo van Rhijn, who was given too much space throughout the match by the three players employed at different stages as City's left winger.

De Boer added: "There are always moments in games when Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri go to sleep. They do not chase the full-back, as they do not believe it is necessary."

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