Manchester City star Joleon Lescott won't make fixture pile-up an excuse

26 February 2011 01:36

City slicker: Lescott in action against Aris Salonika on Thursday

Joleon Lescott insists Manchester City's players are not looking for sympathy despite being faced with an exhausting schedule that is putting their dreams of a long-awaited trophy at risk.

Already committed to two games a week until the next international break at the end of March, City's problems will become even more acute should they draw Wednesday's FA Cup fifth round tie with Aston Villa.

The replay would be wedged in between a Saturday tea-time Premier League encounter with Wigan and a 4,500km round-trip to the Ukraine for a Europa League last-16 encounter with Dynamo Kiev.

Manager Roberto Mancini has reacted angrily to the prospect of such a schedule, claiming the football authorities are treating players 'like machines'.

However, Lescott is more circumspect. The defender is more accustomed to the demands placed upon English stars than Mancini. And he accepts a backlog of games is the price to be paid for success.

'We are not looking for any sympathy,' he said. 'We want to play in these games. We want to win every game in every competition. We recognise that is not going to happen but we still have to try.

Of course it is possible to keep pushing for the top four and win trophies. Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal do that every year and we don't look at ourselves as any different to those clubs.

'We know it is going to be tough. But if you are at the top or going to be one of the best, you will reach semi-finals and quarter-finals of competitions, which just means more games.

'It is going to be a long season but that is how we want it.'

No complaints: Manchester City star Joleon Lescott doesn't want any sympathy

It has also to be noted that Mancini is not entirely blameless for his club's predicament. Had they beaten lower league opposition in Leicester and Notts County at the first attempt, two extra FA Cup fixtures would have been avoided and the Villa tie could have taken place last weekend as scheduled.

In addition, it was Mancini's decision to reduce the numbers in his squad last month by allowing Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge to leave on loan, moves that have backfired given a growing injury list that could rule seven senior men out of Sunday's encounter with Fulham.

For Lescott, the encounter has particular significance as it marks the first return to Eastlands of the man who brought him to City.

Mark Hughes spent ?22million luring the 28-year-old from Everton in 2009, instantly anointing him as potentially the best central defender in England.

'It will be strange to be up against Mark Hughes,' admitted Lescott. 'He brought me to the club and I owe him a lot.

'But there will be no friends when the whistle blows. I will pay him my respects after the game.'

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 Explore more:People: Joleon Lescott, Roque Santa Cruz, Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini, Wayne Bridge Places: United Kingdom

Source: Daily_Mail

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