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Shay aims to put shutters back up

Shay Given 0809

Shay Given 0809

Shay Given is determined that high-flying City will plug the leaks after that perfect defensive start to the season was punctured by a flurry of eight goals in four matches.

Blues are unbeaten in nine games apart from the disputed derby, including a 1-0 friendly win at Barcelona, but goalkeeper Given and his team-mates are desperate to get back to shut-outs.

Blanking the opposition five games in a row, Nou Camp included, set a near-impossible standard but every one that sneaks past him stings experienced Republic of Ireland international Shay.

Given, relaxing for once at Cheshire's luxurious Mottram Hall, admitted: "We're really disappointed when we concede. You get accolades for clean sheets and you get a bit of stick for conceding goals, so we want as many clean sheets as possible.

"That applies to myself, the defenders, and the team itself as a unit. We want to be defending better because clean sheets give you a great base.

"The games that we were winning 1-0 and 2-0 earlier in the season came from clean sheets. We've got to get back to that, and hopefully we will do that."

Arsenal were first to breach the City walls after a faultless month as they succumbed 4-2 at City of Manchester Stadium, then a week later the derby count was finally four in the 96th minute.

But as Shay, preparing to face Aston Villa on Monday night, pointed out: "Arsenal and Manchester United are very good teams, among the best teams in Europe, and with some very good players. It's not easy to shut teams like them out.  

"We've had a very good start to the season, and apart from a little blip against Manchester United it's going really well. There's a great spirit and the confidence is high."

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