Ahead of tomorrow evening’s game against Southampton here is a round up of all the talk before the game. Roberto Mancini and David Platt share their thoughts and Southampton manager, Mauricio Pochettino, and striker, Adam Lallana, preview the game.
I don’t think in these last two years there is a team that has played better than us. Manchester United is a strong team, Chelsea is a strong team but I think in the last two years Manchester City is the team that has played better in the Premier League.
We are a strong team. We have been unlucky because we lost two or three players in January for the African Cup. Yaya (Toure) is an important player for us. When he doesn’t play he is important. We’ve missed him a lot in these last 20 days. I am sorry because they didn’t win but I am happy because they are here.
Vincent Kompany returned to training on Wednesday and could be available at Southampton. Mancini said:
We are optimistic. He trained yesterday, and two days ago. After today we will decide.
As for United’s Champions League involvement, Mancini said:
When you play in the Champions League against Real Madrid you can lose your strength in this game. So we support Manchester United to go through in the Champions League.
David Platt has also spoken about Kompany’s return to fitness:
The injury problems aren’t as bad now. There is nothing definite to say Vinny will make it for Southampton, but he has a chance.
As for Ivory Coast’s elimination from the African Cup of Nations, Platt said:
It’s hypothetical to talk about what we might have done with Yaya in the team. You miss every player that’s not there. We have put a squad together and you want everybody fit and available, but you can’t be dependent on one player because when he gets an injury you throw everything away.
For me, Manchester City are a great team with great individual players and they can decide a match on their own.
Tevez and Aguero are great players of a great level, almost on the same level as Messi. I can be proud of them because they are Argentinian, and I enjoy seeing them play both at club level and as part of our national team, but Man City also have players like Silva and many others who can dictate the direction of the game.
Not only for me, but for anybody that likes football they can see that Rickie Lambert is a great footballer. Let’s hope that in his next match Rickie will score his 100th goal and then his 101st and 102nd!
I have been itching to get back now the whole time. I’ve been there or thereabouts the last three or four weeks and I’ve made a couple of appearances off the bench. I am fully fit and eagerly hoping to get some time from the start, whether I do, we will find out on Saturday. I was injured when Alan Pardew left the club and Nigel Adkins came in so I’ve experienced similar to this.
It was frustrating because you want to get out there and prove to him your worth, really. He has been great and the language barrier is not an issue. You communicate fine and his assistant Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez can all speak English well. It is great and I am so far thoroughly enjoying my time under the gaffer.
We approach the Man City game how we have approached our previous three games under him. There have been some positive performances, we just want to turn them into points because that is the only way we’re going to get up the table.