City fans have been here before. We know the signs all too well of a side threatening to go into a collective nosedive. Post match reaction from the defeat at Stoke…
…many Blues’ concern today is that the side did not rally or show enough fight for the cause when the chips were down.
‘I think we dominated the match for long periods. We had six or seven chances to score a goal up until Emmanuel was sent off, but I won’t say anything against my player because he played fantastically well.
‘When a striker is being closely marked he wants to make space for himself and this kind of thing can happen – I thought it was a yellow card at the very worst.
‘But football is a strange game because we didn’t score when we were on top and then something happens later that completely changes the game. I think that’s the best we’ve played for three or four games and I thought we dealt well with everything Stoke threw at us up until the sending off, so it’s very frustrating to come away with nothing.
‘We must now focus on the Chelsea match because if we want to finish in the top four we must pick up as many points as we can. But I’m happy with my players and on another night, this is a game I believe we would have won comfortably.’
‘It was a magnificent performance and I’m delighted for the lads because they’ve shown great character once again. We’ve played City three times in two weeks, a club with unbelievable resources and great depth in quality, and have managed to come out on top.
‘I thought we were unlucky not to get more out of the first two games, so I’m really, really pleased that we’ve got a win that we thoroughly deserved on this occasion.
‘We had four players out this evening, which left us a bit thin on the ground for options, but the ones who came in did brilliantly for us.’
“The fact we had to play the extra time with only ten men isn’t ideal, but for me, the only negative thing to come out of that game is the fact that we didn’t win. If we’ d taken any of our chances early on, I think we’d have beaten Stoke comfortably.
“Other than that, we’ll be prepared for the match tomorrow, which is going to be difficult, but I think we can go there and get a result. We are professionals and we are looking at things positively. We still have a lot to play for in the league and we’re at a stage of the season where we’re right in the thick of things near the top of the table and we should leave any negatives behind us.
“People need to remember that the City of today is different from the City of a few years back.
“It’s a big game for both clubs and it’s a measure of our progress that we are considered one of the few clubs who can go to Stamford Bridge and be a danger to Chelsea, so why not go there and take our chance? Not much is going our way at the moment, but we’re among the leading clubs on merit and that is the result of hard work. I’m sure we’ll get the breaks we deserve in the coming weeks and months.
“There are many teams who would love to swap places with us and be challenging for a Champions League spot and we mustn’t lose sight of that.”
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