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Richards makes case for City's defence
Published : 04 Dec 2010 12:35:36Rss feed
| Submit Comments| Comments (2)| Printable Version1/1Play SlideshowClose MapFEELING GOOD: Micah Richards after his goal at StokeMicah Richards sees Manchester City?s mean back line as a solid base on which to build for success. And the full-back reckons it is only a matter of time before the goals start to flow regularly for the Blues too. Roberto Mancini is a couple of weeks shy of celebrating his first anniversary as City?s boss and a glance at the Blues? for and against goals columns will show just where the Italian has made his impact. City?s first 15 league games this season have seen them concede just 12 goals, compared with 21 at the same stage under Mark Hughes last term. The price for that mean streak has been paid up front, where the goals for tally has dropped from 29 to 20. ?A lot of people think we?ve been a bit negative at times this season,? Richards said. "But the defence have been outstanding, keeping quite a few clean sheets. If we can keep scoring a few goals, we?ll be all right.? Mancini has arguably made two major breakthroughs in tightening up the City back line. One was to put Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany together as the Blues? first solid centre-back partnership since Richard Dunne and Sylvain Distin. The other has been to add strength to the full-back positions and ? one dodgy afternoon at Wolves apart ? stem the flow of crosses from opposing wingers, a major problem under Hughes last season. With Kolarov fit again following an early-season ankle injury, the only defensive position that appears to be genuinely up for grabs is right-back. Jerome Boateng, a Mancini summer buy from Hamburg, has yet to make that role his own, allowing Richards and Pablo Zabaleta ? also the most consistent of Kolarov?s stand-ins at left-back ? to stake a claim. Valuable Richards, who has proved himself a valuable part of Mancini?s squad this season, did his claims no harm with a superb goal in the 1-1 draw at Stoke last Saturday. ?There?s competition all over, but I?ve been doing well this season,? Richards said. ?I?m happy right now, and when I?m happy, I play my best. ?Whether I play at the weekend or not, it?s all about the team and getting the three points. That?s the most important thing. I feel fresh and I feel good. ?I think I?ve benefited under the new manager. He works a lot with the defenders. He?s definitely been good for me since he came in.? Richards? strike at the Britannia Stadium also helped raise the scoring tally for a team who have often looked to Tevez for goals this term. Mario Balotelli showed a little more of his promise with a double against Red Bell Salzburg in the Europa League on Wednesday night, while Mancini has made it clear he would love to see more of the wizardry Adam Johnson produced to score City?s third against the Austrians. Richards feels that those goals will come in the league ? and silence the critics who have accused City of being all function and no finesse. He said: ?There have been times when people might have been a bit more positive about the clean sheets we?ve kept. ?With the players we?ve got, there?s always been a feeling that we can score more goals, and they will start to come. There?s no need to worry about that.? What is City's best defensive line-up? Have your say.
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