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.

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.

However despite the money lavished on their back-line City have still been caught out at the back especially from set-pieces.

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.

"We're always disappointed when we concede," the Irishman told the Daily Mirror.

"You get accolades for clean sheets, you get stick for conceding goals. We want as many clean sheets as possible.

"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.

"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.

"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."

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.

"I have the odd shouting match in the game - communication is important to the back four and the keeper.

"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."

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.

"Barcelona have a great stadium and a great history," he added.

"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.

"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.

"In years to come as a team and as a club we want to be a force to be reckoned with in Europe."

Source: SKY_Sports