Friday 10 February 2012
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has paid tribute to Manchester City’s work rate ahead of the Barclays Premier League meeting between the two sides on Sunday.
City currently have a two-point lead at the top of the League table and McLeish says their impressive campaign can be credited to their willingness to dig deep as well as their attacking prowess.
"City are supremely gifted, they move it about really well," he said. "But not only are little guys like [David] Silva exceptional on the ball they get through a lot of graft as well.
"That is the big part of the team that [Roberto] Mancini has created. He has got the creative players to graft and work. They have a great work ethic as well as tremendous skill."
"Every game from now until the end of the season will be difficult"
- Roberto Mancini
Villa currently lie in 13th place and go into the match searching for their first home victory in the Barclays Premier League since 5th November.
"We haven't collected the three points at Villa Park for a while now," added McLeish. "Everton had a great result against Manchester City at Goodison Park the other week so it shows they are not unbeatable.
"We have yet to take a point let alone beat any of the top six on our own patch this season so it is up to the players to go out there and change that statistic."
And McLeish believes his players should take heart from the way they performed in the 2-1 defeat by Arsenal on 21st December.
"My players have to remember that the last time they played one of the elite teams at Villa Park, they lost but they were applauded off the pitch," he said.
"They have to remember why they got applause that night – because they gave total commitment and they never let up from start to finish and that's what we need against City."
Manchester City, meanwhile, have one away League win in their last six matches but manager Roberto Mancini insists he is not concerned by the run.
"We knew it was impossible to score three goals in every away game," he said. "Sometimes you can lose these games.
"But we didn't deserve to lose any of these games. At Sunderland we had 70% possession and lost to an offside goal in injury time.
"At Everton we had 70% of the ball and had all the shots. At Chelsea it was the same.
"Every game from now until the end of the season will be difficult because sometimes you play against top clubs and sometimes you play against teams that play for relegation."