City focus on bigger picture
Manchester City are united in their belief that merely clambering above their neighbours from Old Trafford is not a reason for celebration. For the first time in two decades, City are spending time above United in the table at this stage of the campaign. Sunday's 2-1 victory over Newcastle at Eastlands, 24 hours after Sir Alex Ferguson's men had been fortunate to escape with a goalless draw at Sunderland, leaves Roberto Mancini's men in second spot, a point above the Red Devils, who have lorded it as kings of Manchester for so long. But neither Blues assistant-manager Brian Kidd, nor defender Vincent Kompany, is getting carried away. "It is not about Manchester United," said Kompany. "It is about us. "As long as we remain in our present position we will be happy regardless of where United are." The view is one Kidd endorses wholeheartedly. "Being above United has no impact on the players," he said. "Manchester United have been so successful down the years, credit to them. "But our season is about what we do. Don't worry about any other club. "That is the message the boss is sending out." Kidd has been quick to heap praise on Mancini, who disappeared immediately after the final whistle to get a flight back to Italy so he could see his father, who has been seriously ill. There are some who feel Mancini's approach is too negative to be successful in the Premier League. Yet Kidd does not feel that assessment squares with the reality. "The game will always be about players but we are also very fortunate to have a great manager who will drive this club on to success," he said. "The boss is not here to keep everybody happy. He is here to win things." That message could be delivered to Emmanuel Adebayor, Adam Johnson and Shay Given, who have all spent extended time on the sidelines this season when they might have expected to make a more significant contribution. In truth, while Given has virtually no chance of ousting Joe Hart and is expected to leave during the January transfer window, Johnson is making a far more effective case for inclusion than Adebayor, whose introduction from the bench yesterday made no discernable impact on City. Johnson, on the other hand, took just three minutes to drive home the winner, following up his goal against Juventus three days earlier. It could turn out to be a significant strike too, as, after beating Chelsea eight days previously, City had already proved they can overcome the Premier League's big guns. Not that Kidd views any of these tests any differently. "I don't understand the phrases smaller games and lesser teams," said Kidd. "The Premier League is unpredictable. You must have respect for any opposition. "If you are not at it, you are not going to pick the points up." The additional piece of good news for City, who have now won three Premier League games on the trot, is that Aleksandar Kolarov is due to return to training in the near future. Kolarov suffered an ankle injury on his debut at Tottenham but the 24-year-old Serbian has nearly recovered and may not be far from full fitness by the time City resume their campaign at in-form Blackpool on October 17.
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