After his goal put City on their way to victory over Spurs on Sunday, Stephen Ireland has spoken about the role of confidence as the Blues look towards Saturday’s local derby with Bolton.
“It’s massive,” says the 21-year-old. “When you look at strikers who say they haven’t scored because of confidence, you think that can’t be right, but it plays a massive part.
“Some players who are high on confidence can pick you up and it’s a big part of our game, especially with the formation we play, we need confidence to try things and create our own goals.”
So on the back of Sunday’s come-from-behind win, Ireland admits: “Everyone’s on a high now and buzzing. We’re all looking forward to the next game and the atmosphere in the changing room afterwards was great.”
Particularly so where Nedum Onuoha was concerned – the England Under 21 headed the match winning goal – but also celebrated his first senior goal for the Club.
Stephen notes: “He’s playing it cool, very cool, but I think he’s shocked to be honest!
“I think we’ve got great people who can head the ball and it’s about time we started using that from set-pieces and we don’t do it enough.
“We’ve got great athletes who can head the ball – Dunnie, Micah and Nedum, as he showed with the goal. It came off his head and there was only one place it was going.
“He probably just closed his eyes and it hit him on the head. But seriously, I’m delighted for him it’s been a long time coming for him, but it couldn’t have happened to a better person.”
And with the Blues back to winning ways at the City of Manchester Stadium, it’s now two tough away games to come, but Ireland believes City can pick up points at both the Reebok and St Andrews.
“We’ve got Bolton then Birmingham after that so I think they’ll be two similar games.
“We’ll have to pull our socks up and knuckle down hard. When we get the ball I think we’ll have to make the most of the counter attack and play the football we can play.
“I love little combinations in play and I know every game isn’t going to be like that, many games are a battle, but that’s what comes with the Premier League.
“It’s good to be able to mix it up sometimes.”