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Sometimes, a successful war entails losing some battles.
It will never happen, of course, but if Roberto Mancini and Manchester City's ownership have any sense, they should empty the bench for the remaining Champions League fixtures this season.
You will hear a lot of sanctimonious noise from people who expect City to "protect the field" by playing those remaining matches to win even though the overwhelming probability is that even consecutive wins over Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will not be enough to get City through to the knockout stage.
Let them bleat away. Tanking the last two Champions League matches is the only sensible move.
Like it or not, City's eggs are for the second consecutive season in the Premiership basket. Even winning the FA Cup that was such a thrill two seasons ago would mean little if City do not defend the Premier League title.
As such, these remaining Champions League matches are basically meaningless. And there is no point in risking injury to any of City's top-level talent (Joe Hart, Carlos Tevez, Yaya Touré and Agüero come to mind) in matches that will not ultimately bear fruit.
For that matter, after watching the "starters" come out 0-2-2 through four games, can you say that the reserves would be that much worse?