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It's good to talk insists Nigel

Nigel De Jong celebrates 0809

Nigel De Jong celebrates 0809

Nigel de Jong admits he has found the City dressing-room quite an eye-opener since his arrival from Hamburg - but the Blues' Dutch midfielder reckons the say-what-you-think mentality helps make Mark Hughes' men a tighter outfit.

Fellow January signings Craig Bellamy and Shay Given both arrived at the club with reputations for being forthright, and speculation raged after Brazilian star Robinho was reported to be upset when Bellamy spoke his mind.

De Jong, who was at Ajax before switching to the Bundesliga, said: "Every club is different, every club has its own culture and state of mind. The spirit here is good. But yes, it is a lively dressing-room if you want the inside story!

"We know how the English lads are. In Germany they are more laidback, maybe even polite. But you have to have your own opinion. And if you have something against me or I have something against you, you have to be able to say that.

"We are all adults, not children. Nobody is afraid to say anything to anybody else here, but the spirit is not a problem because that attitude helps to bring you together, and we will succeed if we all focus in the same direction."

Nigel and his team-mates tackle high-fliers Aston Villa at the City of Manchester Stadium under no illusions about the task ahead, not just tonight but for the rest of the Blues' Premier League season.

He said: "It's not going to be easy, but we have 11 games to go and it is still open. Look at the gap in the table and it's not so big from where we are to sixth or seventh. Anything is possible and we must play like that.

"People here want something special for the future. But first we must try to make the best out of the rest of the season. We don't think about what people are saying about us before games or when we get out on to that pitch.

"The important thing then is to win, however we do it. All that matters out there is that we get the three points.

"Villa won't be easy. They are in good shape and near the top of the league, so we have to roll our sleeves up and work as a team to try and beat them.

"Villa have shown this season what is possible with good management and a good group if you keep your heads together. We have to respect what they have done, but their example also shows that it takes time to succeed.

"You have to have three good transfer windows to make something happen. It's only been less than one year since the new owners came to the club and we'll be trying to make the step ahead."

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Craig Bellamy training 0809

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West Ham United v City 01-03-2009