City take on Tottenham tomorrow lunch time in North London. Ahead of the game here is a round up of all the talk before the match. For City, Brian Kidd and David Platt preview the game. For Spurs, Andre Villas-Boas, Emmanuel Adebayor and Lewis Holtby share their thoughts.
What he’s (Roberto Mancini) done in just short of four years has been fantastic. The boss has done terrific with the way he’s adapted to the Premier League and the success he’s brought to Manchester City. He’s put silverware on the sideboard. Every manager has different styles and different ways and he’s not dissimilar to Sir Alex Ferguson. He’s not afraid to make big decisions, he’s passionate and he can handle big players.
This time last year everybody said it was all over. You were talking about eight points in six games. Nobody thought Manchester United would drop eight points in six games. Nobody knows. The title is not over yet until it is mathematically finished. It is United’s to lose but make no mistake, there will be some jittery moments and with what happened last year it was a bad experience for them and they will be shocked by it. Stranger things have happened in football. It is poor if we thought it was all over. It could turn out a great season for Manchester City, we could win the league and the FA Cup.
Your rest is as important as training at this stage of the season. You are only really maintaining, not training. That is the same for clubs going for trophies or fighting relegation.
This time last year, Harry (Redknapp) got them into a Champions League position. It was just unfortunate for Spurs that Chelsea won the Champions League. I think it is going to be really tight until the end of the season.
When he did the injury they were saying this might be the game for which he comes back but Tottenham have some very, very good players regardless of whether Gareth Bale plays or not. They have very good players who can score goals, players who will take the ball, and White Hart Lane is quite a difficult place to go to.
The performance (against Wigan) didn’t surprise us in that I knew our energy levels would be low – both (previous) games took a lot out of us. It wasn’t the kind of performance we have needed – but the kind of result we needed. You don’t want too many of those performances. It wasn’t bad – the effort was there all right, but when you do play like that the result becomes the important thing, and one way or another you have to get that result out of it. If we had done it another two or three times we would be a lot closer.
Gazza (Gareth Bale) has been training for the last two days with the team and on his own since the beginning of the week. He has made good progress from the beginning of the week to training with the team, so definitely will be up for selection. This is a decision I have to make. We recognise the impact he has had for us. With the run that he is on it can have that factor.
It is good having key players around and players who have been decisive, especially in this last part of the season is always inspirational for everyone. It’s good to have him back. All of them (including Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon) are in with a chance of making selection.
If we put them under pressure we have a chance to win for sure. I was there and whenever things are not going their way there will definitely be a fight or an argument on the pitch and that is how we can take them down.
I don’t have anything to prove to Man City. Man City is a sacred club. I have a huge respect for the players because I’ve got players there that I can call family – people like Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure, and Vincent Kompany. They are very good friends so for me. It’s going to be important for me to prove how good I am, but I don’t have any pressure that says I have to beat Man City because of the way they treated me – because they bought me expensively and sold me for cheap.
We are all human beings. We are all adults. I cannot tell you what happen and what did not happen. For me today I move on, (Mancini) has moved on. He is Man City, I am Tottenham. I wish him the best of luck. For me now Mancini is just a manager I respect just like Arsene Wenger, like Harry Redknapp, and that’s it.
We’re a strong side and when we play at home, most teams come here with the intention of holding their defensive line, keeping it tight at the back and trying to play on the break. When a team comes to attack us, it means we can play even more on the counter-attack, especially with the pace we have up front.
I have big faith in us because we have a quality side. We have players like Gareth (Bale) and Aaron (Lennon) to come back who haven’t been there in recent matches. As a team, we just have to try not to concede some of the goals that we’ve let in during recent matches. The games against teams like Southampton and Sunderland are ones we have to win.
We have to get those points to stay up there. After 38 games, we have to be in the top four. If you look back at the season and see the effort we have put in, I think we deserve to finish there but we have to get the points and make sure of it.
Compiled by Robert Toole