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The scoreline was kept respectable by Callum Hudson-Odoi's injury-time consolation. But Chelsea were totally taken apart in the first half at Stamford Bridge as Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne put City into a 3-0 lead.
Neville acknowledged that Chelsea's defenders struggled with a brilliantly in-form City - but he put the blame largely on three players: N'Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic.
"I have to say the midfield of Kante, Mount and Kovacic have been nowhere near good enough," said Neville, per Metro at half-time as he analysed the one-sided destruction.
"It's been nowhere near good enough in this last 20 minutes. They've allowed Manchester City to get a real grip in this game.
"The full-backs of [Ben] Chilwell and [Cesar] Azpilicueta have really struggled but it's that midfield that has really struggled to get a grip."
Chelsea certainly looked overrun in the middle as the three goalscorers plus Bernardo Silva, Rodri and Raheem Sterling caused the hosts all kinds of problems.
World Cup winner Kante made an uncharacteristic error for City's third goal, giving the ball away and allowing Pep Guardiola's side to spring a counterattack which ended with Sterling hitting the woodwork and De Bruyne following up to score.
Neville's former teammate Roy Keane also tore into Mount as he claimed the England international looked "frightened" on the pitch.
"Frank Lampard will be scratching his head after the game, he'll be frustrated," said Keane. "When you've got your midfielders coming back - and I know Mount is more of an attacking player - but he's got to put his foot in, make a sacrifice, tackle him!"
"It's all lovely play from City, nice and tidy, but no tackling from anybody, giving players time and space.
"Mount's just come into the picture there, I'm looking at him going: you've got to slide in! Stick your foot in!
"Look at Mount, he's done absolutely nothing. Put your foot in! Tackle somebody! You've got to be aggressive."
:speaking_head:"He has got to put a challenge in, he has got to make a sacrifice, tackle"
Roy Keane can not believe Chelsea's lack of tackling against Manchester City pic.twitter.com/4drQ0Fb59q
- Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 3, 2021
Lampard may be scratching his head at his midfield trio's anonymous showing but he failed to make any changes until after the hour mark. Eventually, Billy Gilmour replaced the out-of-sorts Kante on 64 minutes, while Kai Havertz was substituted on for Kovacic with 13 minutes to go.
The result leaves Chelsea eighth in the table after 17 games and Lampard fighting for his job if results don't improve ASAP.
All imagery: PA Images/Sky Sports
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