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Published: Friday December 13, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday December 13, 2013 MYT 11:00:30 AM

'Barnsey' is back in town

Fans favourite: Peter is back in Malaysia, working as a SuperSport pundit. Here he is with Liverpool favourite Didi Hamann during SuperSport’s Euro 2012 coverage. Didi also played for Man City.

Fans favourite: Peter is back in Malaysia, working as a SuperSport pundit. Here he is with Liverpool favourite Didi Hamann during SuperSport’s Euro 2012 coverage. Didi also played for Man City.

Man City legend says Manuel Pellegrini is the difference for free-scoring Blues.

One Malaysia-based fan who stayed up through the night on Wednesday morning to watch Manchester City’s Champions League comeback victory in Germany over holders Bayern Munich was our visiting Astro SuperSport pundit, Peter Barnes.

Peter, of course, is a City legend who won the 1976 League Cup with the Sky Blues, was voted PFA Young Player of the Year, and was part of the strong late 1970s side that finished second in the league behind Liverpool.

He also wore the red of Manchester United between 1985 and 1987, playing briefly under Sir Alex Ferguson, and earned 22 caps for England between 1977 and 1982.

Ahead of tomorrow’s crucial home match against leaders Arsenal, with exclusive coverage on SuperSport from 8pm, he reckons the Bayern victory could be a turning point for a side that had previously struggled on the road. They’ve lost four matches in the Premier League away from the Etihad Stadium.

“Their away form is getting better and the win at Bayern proves what they’re capable of,” Peter said.

“In the league, they need to be more aggressive and determined to finish teams off with a high tempo game.”

City trailed 0-2 at the Allianz Stadium after just 12 minutes before scoring three unanswered goals, including two in three second half minutes, to win 3-2 in their final group D game that saw them finish behind the Bavarian giants on goal-difference.

Peter likes what he sees so far from City’s new Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini, who replaced the unpopular Roberto Mancini before the start of the season.

He met the former Real Madrid and Malaga boss on a flight during the summer when Peter was travelling back from Spain after a reunion with his old teammates from Real Betis. (He had a season in La Liga in the early 1980s).

“We spoke for a while on the flight and I found him to be a very down-to-earth and humble sort of guy,” he said.

“His teams score lots of goals and entertain. I also like the way that Pellegrini never has a go at his players in the media as Mancini used to. Any criticism should be behind closed doors.”

Peter also crossed paths with new Manchester United boss David Moyes at various functions in England during September.

He has his own theories why the Red Devils have made such a stuttering start to the season. The champions are ninth on the table, 13 points behind leaders Arsenal.

“I bumped into David Moyes at different sporting dinners where he was polite and respectful and nowhere near as cold as Sir Alex,” Peter said.

“I think maybe now some of the Man United players think they can get away with a few things that they couldn’t under Sir Alex so the discipline has gone a bit.

“He needs time, some luck and most importantly the players to step up to the mark, but personally I think all that they can hope for is a top-4 finish this season.”

While Peter has returned to Manchester after being based here for three years, he is now back as a guest SuperSport pundit for the month of December. It gives him a chance to catch up with his sister Karen Barnes, who runs a popular dance school and drama studio in Petaling Jaya.

Peter has also carried on the legacy of his late father, Ken Barnes — who was also a successful Manchester City player and respected scout — by giving football coaching to underprivileged children, especially in the Tamil communities across the country.

Even at the age of 56, the likeable left footer still has many of the razzle dazzle skills that made him one of English football’s most popular players during the 1970s and 1980s.

So what’s his take on City’s chances of winning the title this season — starting with the game against Arsenal?

“They definitely have the squad and the ability to take their second title in three years so it will come down to mental strength, staying clear of injuries and that word called luck,” Peter said.

“On Saturday, I think City’s home form will be too strong and they will beat Arsenal 2-0.”

Join Peter Barnes, Abbas Saad & host Jason Dasey for Manchester City v Arsenal on BPL tomorrow from 8pm and every Monday 9pm for BPL Turning Points on Astro SuperSport/HD (810/831).

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own

Tags / Keywords: Sport, Central Region, Jason Dasey

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