Ahead of tomorrow evening’s away game at QPR, here is a round up of all the talk ahead of the match. David Platt and Joleon Lescott preview the game and QPR manager, Harry Redknapp, talks at length about Mancini and Mario.
The target of this club is to win trophies, that’s what we’re set up to do. The manager wants to win everything he is in. We feel we are involved in both competitions and feel we have the capability of winning both. The fact we went out of Europe means there is not really a backlog of games.
If we continue to progress there is a league campaign, so we’ll have to rearrange games but that shouldn’t really put us off it. We were very disappointed when we went out in the third round last year because our 2011 win gave us a taste and a belief for it.
Shaun Wright-Phillips is one of those players who if you are not on top of your game he will punish you because he’s quick and agile so he’ll be someone we’ll need to watch closely. I still think that he’s one of the most exciting players in the Premier League and capable of hurting any team. Loic Remy is another quality player – he must be to have played for Marseille in the Champions League.
QPR have done really well of late because they were shipping goals earlier in the season but they look well-organised and tight in defence under Redknapp. I don’t study other teams and how they defend as such, but because two of my close friends in Shaun and Nedum Onuoha are there, I’ve watched their progress with interest. Nedum’s back in the side and playing every week again which is great, so I hope they pull away from the foot of the table, though obviously after Tuesday’s game.
Last season the Hoops pushed City all the way in pulsating encounter at Loftus Road. Lescott expects the same again as the hosts bid to lift themselves away from the foot of the table.
It was an intense game at their place last season but we thought we deserved the win over 90 minutes.
When I see some of the headlines coming out of Manchester City, I wonder how Roberto Mancini puts up with it all. Hardly a week goes by without some story emerging how this or that manager is being lined up to take over from Mancini in the summer. But he deserves a medal for the way he has coped with some of the egos he’s got in that dressing room. I don’t think I’d have the patience to put up with them.
If all that nonsense with Carlos Tevez wasn’t bad enough last season, he’s now got Mario Balotelli sitting on the bench most weeks with a face like thunder. There’s nothing that winds me up more than having footballers moping about the place looking like they’re not enjoying themselves. Whenever I’ve had a player acting like that I’ve looked to get them out of the club as quickly as possible.
But that’s easier said than done with Balotelli because City paid £22 million to sign him from Inter and he’s probably on a massive contract that he’s not just going to tear up. I once tried to sign him for Spurs before he went to City. I spoke with his brother and had a meeting with his agent after he’d had a fall-out with Jose Mourinho at Inter. And that’s when I thought: ‘If Jose can’t handle him, what chance have I got?’
When you sign as many world-class superstars as City have done, you have to put up with the egos and Mancini deserves a lot of credit for the way he has done that. They are a great squad and it looks like the race will go down to the wire again with Manchester United.