Micah Richards played a starring role in the win over Valencia and then admitted he had taken to heart boss Roberto Mancini’s recent critique.
The 21-year-old defender has accepted that he must improve his concentration levels if he is to win a regular place in the side ahead of a host of internationals bidding to make the back four.
But he feels he is coming into top form at just the right time to give Mancini a selection headache.
“What the manager said was a fair comment, last season I did ok but wasn’t at my best and hopefully this time around will be different,” he said
“As a defender you are often the last man and mistakes stand out more. I certainly welcome the boss’s words because I know they are aimed at making me a better player and everyone wants to improve.
I took on board what the manager said about my concentration levels on the pitch and I working at that
...Micah Richards on Mancini comment
Richards played at right back and in the centre of defence in the 2-0 final warm up win over the La Liga side and not for the first time was one of precious few to last the ninety minutes.
“I enjoyed it. I think we did exceptionally well,” he declared.
“After a few pre-season defeats people started to wonder if we would be contenders for anything this year but I think in the first half especially we showed glimpses of our potential.
There has never been a squad as talented as this one in terms of depth while I have been here
...Micah Richards on teammates.
“People have to remember that in those early games a lot of younger players were given a chance, we were looking for fitness and we were without Nigel De Jong, David Silva, Jerome Boateng, and Carlos Tevez, four top class players.”
“My own form is reasonably good. I think I have done fairly well in pre-season I have tried to give my all in every game and I feel good.
“I could have scored early on against Valencia it was a great ball through by Carlos and I hit it quite well – not bad for a defender at any rate – but the ’keeper made a really good save.”
Even so Richards is taking nothing for granted with a week to go before the big kick-off at Spurs.
“It is very competitive here now. Even the club captain didn’t start against Valencia so no one knows that they are safe in the side,” he concluded.