Man City slack­ers must shape up, ad­mits Sagna

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Bacary Sagna con­fesses Manch­ester City did not give 100 per cent in their 4-2 de­feat at Le­ices­ter and must show more de­sire to get their sea­son back on course when they host Wat­ford today.

Pep Guardi­ola’s side have not won a home league game since the mid­dle of Septem­ber and the Spa­niard sud­denly finds him­self strug­gling to adapt to life in the Pre­mier League.

Satur­day’s set­back against splut­ter­ing cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter was the lat­est blow for a team that opened the sea­son with 10 con­sec­u­tive wins in all com­pe­ti­tions but now find them­selves seven points be­hind lead­ers Chelsea.

French de­fender Sagna ad­mits the Le­ices­ter em­bar­rass­ment was un­ac­cept­able and he wants to see a pos­i­tive re­sponse. “I’m very dis­ap­pointed. Even though we scored two goals I can’t be pleased with the way we played be­cause we should be per­form­ing bet­ter,” Sagna said.

“No mat­ter who’s play­ing, no mat­ter how many chances we have, we should be able to give 100 per cent and today I don’t have the feel­ing we did. “We have to an­a­lyse what hap­pened. I don’t think we stuck to­gether dur­ing the first half. We con­ceded too many chances and got caught on the break.

“We will be work­ing on it. It was very dif­fi­cult to play the way we did but in the end we didn’t de­serve to be ahead.”

City’s much-crit­i­cised de­fence could be strength­ened by the re­turn of Ni­co­las Ota­mendi against Wat­ford af­ter a one-match sus­pen­sion.

But Ser­gio Aguero and Fer­nand­inho are still serv­ing four and three-game sus­pen­sions, re­spec­tively, fol­low­ing the re­cent de­feat by Chelsea. And Sagna in­sisted City’s play­ers need to show bet­ter col­lec­tive spirit if they are to avoid a re­peat of the Le­ices­ter de­ba­cle.

“We’re quite lucky to be part of the club. We’re lucky to be part of the project and we need to re­act, we need to be con­scious, we need to keep work­ing re­ally hard and we need to stick to­gether,” he added.

Mean­while, de­spite a wor­ry­ing run that has brought just four vic­to­ries in their last 15 games in all com­pe­ti­tions, City’s hi­er­ar­chy in­sist they will not spend fur­ther in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow. Brazil­ian for­ward Gabriel Je­sus, signed for £27 mil­lion ($34 mil­lion, 32.2 mil­lion eu­ros) ear­lier this year, is sched­uled to join the club in the new year and City di­rec­tor of foot­ball Txiki Be­giris­tain says he will be the only new ar­rival.

“We al­ready have done,” he said, when asked if City will strengthen. “We have Je­sus com­ing he will strengthen our attack, so we are happy.”

Wat­ford’s vic­tory over Ever­ton moved Wal­ter Maz­zarri’s side up to sev­enth and the Ital­ian be­lieves the dis­play will pro­vide a timely con­fi­dence boost ahead of the trip to East­lands.

“I have told my play­ers we can fight against any of the Pre­mier League teams for the three points but we need to be 100 per cent,” he said.

Maz­zarri ad­mits he was as sur­prised as any­one at City’s de­feat to Le­ices­ter but fears the re­sult could work against his own side. “It won’t help us be­cause we will find Man City very an­gry and very con­cen­trated,” he said.

“We won’t have the luck that they can un­der­es­ti­mate us. They won’t un­der­es­ti­mate us. “Th­ese things can hap­pen in the Pre­mier League. But Manch­ester City are a great team and a great man­ager like Guardi­ola can change the mis­takes they made in th­ese cou­ple of games from one match to an­other and not com­mit them any more.”

Roberto Pereyra is avail­able again af­ter serv­ing a one-match a ban and the Wat­ford play­maker is ex­pected to come straight back into the start­ing line-up. — AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: Two men take pic­tures of a screen dis­play­ing the AFC Cup foot­ball 2017 of­fi­cial draws for play­off and group stages in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day. (See Page 18) — AFP

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