Man City routs Blackburn 4-0 in Premier League
Manchester City shrugged off the turmoil surrounding former captain Carlos Tevez by using a second-half scoring spree to rout Blackburn 4-0 Saturday in the Premier League.
Adam Johnson, Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri and Stefan Savic all netted after the break to make sure City kept pace with rival Manchester United.
Tevez was suspended last week over his apparent refusal to come off the bench during City's 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with manager Roberto Mancini saying the Argentina striker would never play for the club again.
Even with Sergio Aguero sustaining what appeared to be a groin problem, City made it 19 points from seven matches, with 23 goals scored.
Blackburn supporters urged Indian owners Venky's to sack manager Steve Kean as their team slipped to a fifth defeat in seven Premier League matches this season.
But Kean is adamant he still has the full support of the club's owners.
''I am 100 per cent determined to carry on. I'm disappointed in the manner of the goals we conceded but there are good hard-working guys in our dressing room who need support,'' Kean said. ''I would rather the fans vented their anger at me. It's certainly not enjoyable but these are my players - even the ones I didn't bring in.''
City controlled possession from the start and came close to opening the scoring after nine minutes.
David Silva broke past Jason Lowe and had a shot saved by Paul Robinson before Mario Balotelli, making his first Premier League start of the season, lifted a shot over the bar from 15 yards.
Blackburn also threatened when Junior Hoilett threaded a pass through for Yakubu, who was dispossessed by James Milner's sliding challenge as he prepared to shoot.
City suffered a blow when Aguero limped off and was replaced by Nasri. The former Arsenal midfielder was quickly given a chance when Lowe gave the ball away to Milner, only for Nasri's effort to be deflected wide of goal by Scott Dann.
City's Serbian defender Aleksander Kolarov also drove a free kick wide from 30 yards and Milner missed from a similar distance. Italian forward Balotelli then curled an effort just past the post from the edge of the area as the visitors continued to dominate.
Blackburn managed their first shot on target when Yakubu was denied by goalkeeper Joe Hart seven minutes before the interval.
Balotelli missed with an overhead kick and also turned a shot past the post from close range after he beat Chris Samba to Pablo Zabaleta's cross in the 44th minute.
Silva drove wide with a cross-shot in the first minute after the restart and Balotelli was denied by the post after he cut in from the left and hit a shot that beat Paul Robinson.
But the visitors took a deserved lead in the 56th minute when Kolarov's corner was headed away by Gael Givet and Johnson curled a shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
The lead was doubled three minutes later when Nasri's cross from the left was turned in at the near post by Balotelli.
City added a third with 18 minutes left when Nasri broke into the Blackburn half and swapped passes with Silva before scoring with a deflected shot.
Blackburn supporters had already planned a protest against Kean and City's third goal was followed by widespread chants towards the Rovers manager.
As well as the home fans singing ''Kean out,'' both sets of supporters sang ''You're getting sacked in the morning'' as Rovers slipped to another defeat.
With three minutes left, Savic was picked out by Kolarov's corner and headed in for his first goal since joining from Partizan Belgrade in the summer.
After making six changes, coach David Platt felt the performance showed the depth of City's squad after a difficult week.
''It was the result we wanted and that's what we prepared for from Thursday onwards when we returned to training after putting the Bayern game to bed,'' Platt said.
''One of the hardest things for us is picking a starting eleven. When we have everyone fit we are still sending top players into the stands. It's important that we don't lose the quality of performance and we haven't.''