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Roque steels himself for closing stages

Roque Santa Cruz

Roque Santa Cruz

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and that’s the kind of attitude Roque Santa Cruz thinks City are going to need in the closing weeks of the season.

The Paraguayan striker played his part when the Blues fought back from a goal down to earn a valuable point at Sunderland last Sunday.

It’s become a familiar scenario, but with the race for a Champions League getting tighter with every fixture Roque knows that City will need plenty of steely resolve.

He says: “It’s a compliment to the team, we’ve been good in those situations where we have been behind and needed to get back into a game. We’re experienced and tough, mentally, but a lot of it is to because overall the squad has stayed fit. We can cope with what games throw at us until we get the results that we want because we are in good shape, considering the stage of the season we are in.

"But we are going to need to keep that mental strength in the next few weeks. These games coming up are going to be the decisive ones of the season."

Roque came on to replace an injury-hampered Wayne Bridge on Sunday and for him a strong bench will be essential over the closing stages of 2009/10.

“Everybody will need to be ready to get involved at any time,” he adds. “I have not started many games lately but I know how important it is to be prepared and able to contribute as soon as you come on. Most of the squad are fit, and we just need Ade to come back to help strengthen the team even more.

“You have to expect people coming off the bench to make an impact and change the game. I did what I could on Sunday, and of course Adam scored that fantastic goal as a substitute. That’s just what you need from a replacement , the team’s got to stay as strong even when changes are made and that’s what we all have try to do even if we are not starting every game.”

Thoughts have now turned to the trip to Fulham this coming Sunday, and the draw at the Stadium of Light coupled with results elsewhere turn this into a must-win game for the 28-year-old.

“It’s going to be another tough one, but it’s one of those games that we need to win. We can’t allow ourselves any draws any more, we need to go for the win at Fulham,” Roque concludes.

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