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Youngsters to the fore

Stephen Ireland 0708

Stephen Ireland 0708

After seeing his side keep intact their 100% start to the season, Sven-Goran Eriksson has reflected further on last night’s 1-0 win over Derby County.

When asked what pleased him most about the victory, Sven replied: “The clean sheet, it’s always very good and you can build on that for the future.

“I’m sure that we can play better football. It will take some time, some of the new players are short on fitness and we need to have more playing time together to work on all the details in football.

“But so far I’m very pleased and they will be better soon.”

With the new players shining on the opening day, last night belonged to City’s youngsters and an ‘old head.’

Eriksson said: “We always talk about the new players, but take Micah Richards, Ireland and Johnson, three coming from the Academy it was a fantastic performance from all three of them.

“With Kasper, we all know that he is young and has no experience of the Premier League. But he did well on Saturday and did extremely well against Derby with no mistakes at all.

“What you are always afraid of is when keepers come out for crosses but he did an excellent job there.”

Turning to that ‘old head’, Didi Hamann’s performance again was immense and a major factor in keeping the Rams out, a point not lost on Sven.

“‘Well done young boy,’ I told him after the match because he really seems that way, but his experience is incredible,” smiled the Manager.

“You could see at the end of the game how he keeps the ball and is very clever. I would be very happy if I could have a Hamann like this for 36 more games in the Premier League. He did very well again.”

But Eriksson’s final word had to be about the match winner himself, 19-year-old Michael Johnson.

He told us: “Michael scored an extremely good goal and he’s physically strong, can run all day and he’s a footballer, clever, good technique and of course he will get better with more experience.

“I know he’s only made 10 starts in the Premier League last season, but you couldn’t see that on the pitch.”


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