Mark Hughes and his resurgent City squad are of a relaxed yet determined mind this international break after a tidal wave of criticism has been beaten off early doors this season…
The Blues have come through some tough encounters with their reputation enhanced against the backdrop of a feel good factor unprecedented at fourth placed Manchester City in modern times. Sparky led from the front again today via the official site, highlighting City’s newfound siege mentality:
‘We know there is a long way to go but we are pleased with the start we have because we needed a good start. The review we have had of the first phase (of the season) has been good. There will be more tests ahead of us but I think we are in good shape. When you go through the experience we went through at Old Trafford it can only help to make the group stronger as a whole.
‘Everyone realises the people we have brought to the club have made us stronger physically, technically and mentally – which was the key thing from my point of view. ‘With all the media platforms out there everyone wants to discuss Manchester City so it is difficult to protect the players but we have used it to our own ends. We’ve used some of the negative stuff as a positive in terms of motivation…
the group we have are knowledgeable and experienced and they know how it works.’
Sparky was backed up in his assertions by City’s engine room in the form of Gareth Barry a man pilloried as a mercenary who has put in some outstanding performances:
‘The players at City expect to get stick – it’s something we have spoken about among ourselves. But it’s important we don’t let it affect us and I’m sure we can deal with it. A lot of money has been ploughed into the club and people outside may enjoy seeing us fail. That’s where the views are coming from, but as a unit that can help us and make us stronger. It happened with Chelsea and their players. Our manager has made that point to us and we’ve tried to use it to bring us together and to work harder on the pitch.’
Stephen Ireland has since chipped in with his assessment of City’s story so far underlining the healthy competition for starting places:
‘For us to be challenging up there we need it to be feisty and edgy, with even the best players having to try to get in the team.’
In a couple of days the City squad will be back together and aiming to pick up where they left off with another battling performance on the road, this time at Wigan.
Stay tuned with VMC as the week progresses.
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