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Dunne wants more selfbelief

Richard Dunne 0809

Richard Dunne 0809

Richard Dunne wants the rest of the Premier League to know that Manchester City can no longer be viewed as soft touches, and the visit of Fulham is the perfect game for Mark Hughes' side to ram home the point.

The Londoners cruised back down the M6 last April having overturned the Blues' 2-0 lead through Stevie Ireland and Benjani to somehow finish with a 3-2 victory that stunned the City of Manchester Stadium.

But that was then. Skipper Dunne, who has reconstructed his own game back to its finest during an enforced month's absence earlier this year, declares those days gone and the Blues' proud home record is powerful evidence.

A slip-up against Roy Hodgson's surprise packets would be a huge blow to City's aspirations of snatching seventh place. Dunne said: "The last few years, if a team were struggling then Man City has been a good fixture for them. Well, not any more. We have progressed an awful lot this season.

"People should be saying, 'We've got Man City, that's a tough game'. If we just realised how good we are, we could make games against the likes of Arsenal enjoyable, but sometimes we have too much respect. I hope this run in Europe will give us more belief in ourselves.

"I'm not talking about being arrogant, and anyway we would need to win some trophies - it's no good being arrogant if you have nothing to back it up. It's about self-belief, we have to be mentally strong."

Dunnie signed a new contract last summer and new boss Mark Hughes called it his best pre-season deal, but it wasn't until after he sat out four matches after a red card against Wigan in January that he hit top form.

He admitted: "I had a poor start to the season and never got going, but since I came back my confidence has grown. Maybe it's playing in a settled defence with Nedum (Onuoha), maybe I just needed the break.

"You know when you're not playing well, you don't need to be told. I've played an awful lot of games in the last few years. I had a little rest for the month, relaxed and stayed away from football for a while."

City's captain is quick to hand credit to his centre-back partner. He said: "Nedum has been brilliant. Nothing ruffles him, he takes it all in his stride, and he's probably one of the first names on the teamsheet now.

"His confidence has benefited from playing week in, week out, and his performances are probably as good anyone in the Premier League at the moment. He's getting to a level where he could be looking for an England call-up."

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