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Room for improvement after performance at Stoke

Stuart Pearce Manchester City Season 0506

Stuart Pearce Manchester City Season 0506

Stuart Pearce has given a mixed reaction to the 2-1 win in Saturday's friendly at Stoke City.

City went a goal down early in the second half, and had to see Jihai Sun sent off and David James save a penalty before turning things around through goals from Cole and Wright-Phillips.

Disappointed with what he saw in the first half, Pearce stuck with the same eleven after the break and urged them to up the pace of the game.

"If I am honest, it was poor in the first half. We went out and it was a case of trying to get through the game instead of getting a tempo to the game.

"I had a couple of words with them at half time, and told them to up the tempo, and I think we did. The goalie's saved a penalty, Andy Cole's got a very good goal, so has Bradley. In some ways I'm disappointed but in other ways I'm not, we got 90 minutes out of them, for some of those players it was their first full 90 minutes."

The manager also pointed out that his central defensive partnership of D'Laryea and Richards had to cope with an unfamiliar situation, but also singled out Andrew Cole for special praise.

"The heart of my defence had two very young players, and it was a difficult one for them. They only had one player to mark so they had to bring the ball out of defence.

"Andrew Cole was the bright spark for me today, he played very well and took his goal very well. But, there's always things to work on! If everything had gone well today, I would have thought we'd peaked too soon! Maybe it was a wake up call for one or two of them."

To some, a sending-off in a pre-season game may look harsh, but rather than criticise referee Phil Dowd, Pearce felt he had no option.

"In this day and age, referees have got assessors everywhere, and if they don't send them off for a sending off offence they will get in trouble for it. I've lost a player who looks as if he needs all the fitness he can get for the beginning of the season. As far as the refereeing goes, he had no choice."

Bradley Wright-Phillips sealed the victory, and the boss sees him growing in stature as he moves gains more first-team experience.

"We know he's got the pedigree to score goals in the reserves, and we just need him to translate that into the first team. That goal today will do him a world of good."

Match Report

Stoke City v City 30 07 2005

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