Given backs defence to shine

27 October 2009 09:53
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Shay Given has defended Manchester City's recent defensive frailties insisting it will take time for the back four to gel as a unit.[LNB] City manager Mark Hughes has expensively assembled his defence with Joleon Lescott, Kolo Toure and Wayne Bridge joining Given at the club over the past year for a combined fee of well over £50million.[LNB]However despite the money lavished on their back-line City have still been caught out at the back especially from set-pieces.[LNB]The Blues' problems were highlighted on Sunday when they let a two-goal lead slip at home to Fulham with Damien Duff and Clint Dempsey profiting from some generous marking.[LNB]"We're always disappointed when we concede," the Irishman told the Daily Mirror.[LNB]"You get accolades for clean sheets, you get stick for conceding goals. We want as many clean sheets as possible.[LNB]"That applies to myself, the defenders and the team itself as a unit. We want to be defending better, clean sheets give you a great base.[LNB]"The games that we were winning 1-0 and 2-0 earlier in the season came from clean sheets. We've got to get back to that and hopefully we will.[LNB]"It will take a bit of time. We're all getting to know each other's games and we've had a lot of players come to the club in a short space of time."[LNB]Set-playsHowever the former Newcastle keeper knows the team must get to grips with defending set-pieces and quickly: "We have to look at the set-plays and see where we can get stronger.[LNB]"I have the odd shouting match in the game - communication is important to the back four and the keeper.[LNB]"I can see the whole picture and I try to help out the lads in front of me as much as I can. The more guys we have talking and helping out their mates the better."[LNB]Despite taking six points from a possible 15 in their last five games Given still has high hopes for City and highlights that Spanish champions Barcelona are the perfect model to follow.[LNB]"Barcelona have a great stadium and a great history," he added.[LNB]"They're a fantastic club and that has to be the benchmark for where City aspire to go. We're a long, long way off obviously.[LNB]"You only have to see Barcelona's trophy cabinet, it's just phenomenal. But we want to try and get something in the cupboard ourselves and build on that.[LNB]"In years to come as a team and as a club we want to be a force to be reckoned with in Europe."[LNB]

Source: SKY_Sports