Football Expert & Columnist
Champions League: Pellegrini must move midfielder Javi Garcia out of City defence
Manuel Pellegrini must re-consider playing Javi Garcia at centre-back, says Jamie Carragher.
Last Updated: 24/10/13 2:19pm
Sergio Aguero scored twice as City came from behind after Zoran Tosic's opener to secure all three points in a match in which home fans appeared to direct monkey chants at Yaya Toure. City will make an official complaint to UEFA over the incident.
Despite City's victory, though, Carragher told Sky Sports that he still has major concerns over the way Pellegrini sets up his side defensively.
"I was impressed with City in terms of getting the job done but it wasn't a difficult game in terms of the opposition, even taking the condition of the pitch into consideration," said Carragher.
"At times CSKA did cause them problems and we were quite critical even before the game of the decision to play Garcia at centre-back. He didn't do great for the first goal but Matija Nastasic was more at fault. He was the wrong side, jogging, and there was no urgency.
"He just doesn't react quickly enough to Tosic's run and Pablo Zabaleta can't quite get there. This idea of midfielders going to centre-back happens because teams want to play so much football that they think 'we can put someone there and start the attacks with the ball'.
"We see it with Barcelona and Javier Mascherano starting at centre-back. They do it because they think they can start their attacks from the back but it's a specialist position. To think a midfield player can go there is not right; I think the longer he plays there the more problems City will have.
"The problem is not just how it affects him individually but how it affects other players. If you're playing alongside him and you're not confident in him, I think it creates panic in the whole back four. So every time he seems to play, you see other people not at their best."
Former Scotland and Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness agreed that Pellegrini needs to re-think his defensive strategy, to avoid taking unnecessary risks.
"Pellegrini can tighten up by not playing Garcia at centre-back because the vast majority of their problems stem from him," said Souness. "He gave away a penalty that wasn't given in the second half; because Garcia isn't a centre-back he doesn't sense the danger as someone like Joleon Lescott would - it's foreign to him.
"With Vincent Kompany out injured you must get back to defending and keeping clean sheets - that has got to be the priority when you go away from home.
"Pellegrini is a good manager and he must see that now. But fair play to City, they have done the job because they did create chance after chance, especially in the first half. They could have been well in front by the time CSKA scored.
"Aguero is a pocket battleship and he did well to stay on his feet for the first and he risked getting his head kicked off for the second after Alvaro Negredo's brilliant ball but he was always going to put his head there. He's a special player for them and I really like the partnership between Negredo and Aguero.
"It was the worst possible pitch City could be on when you've got little players who are looking to do things so quickly with first touches; they couldn't do it in the last third. They had to take the extra touch and by the time you do that, the opportunity has gone for you."
City only secured all three points after goalkeeper Joe Hart blocked a close-range volley from Keisuke Honda in injury time.
Peter Schmeichel, who made 31 appearances for the club between the sticks in 2002-03, said he was "disappointed by the way [City] defended".
"They were a tiny bit fortunate to get away with the three points because right at the end of that game Joe Hart had to make an incredible save, to save two points.
"I thought the CSKA team was very, very average; they had a couple of individual players who were hurting City far too much for my liking.
"But I have to praise them for sticking with it; they never gave up. They played their own game and that's not easy when you go away.
"It's zero degrees over there and the pitch was terrible but they did it; they needed to win and they've now got two home games to [seal qualification] and that's a very, very big positive."
Watch Manchester City take on Chelsea on Super Sunday this weekend from 3.30pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky 3D.