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Boyata's heart goes out to Zabaleta

Dedryck Action Sunderland

Dedryck Action Sunderland

Dedryck Boyata is happy to play wherever Roberto Mancini picks him - but he would have preferred to get his chance against Sunderland under happier circumstances.

The youngster's performance at right-back in the5-0 victory was outstanding and more than repaid the manager's faith with several first-choice senior defenders unavailable.

Boyata was delighted to be drafted in but said: "Obviously, the situation is not something that I want. I feel so sorry for Pablo Zabaleta and what’s happening with his father. You wouldn’t want anybody to go through something like that.

"I also feel really sorry for Micah Richards - I’m hoping that he’ll come back stronger and fitter than he was before his injury, and of course the same goes for Jerome Boateng."

Dedryck, who was first called up to solve an injury crisis when Mancini arrived in December 2009, revealed: "I’d never thought about playing right back before the gaffer came in.

"I think the first time I played there was against Chelsea, then after that I played a few minutes against Juventus. I enjoy playing centre half as well - when I can get a game I’m very happy.

"Sunderland was the first game I’d started since December, so it was great. It was a test and I think I passed.

The next two games are going to be incredibly difficult with amazing atmospheres


"I’ve played in big games with special atmospheres before, but the FA Cup semi-final will be something else. I’m calm, because I know there are people around that can help me."

Not least veteran Patrick Vieira, one of the five scorers against Sunderland: "“We’ve got a great atmosphere in the changing room and Patrick is one of the people who makes us laugh the most.

"To see him scoring was brilliant, everybody jumped on him they were so pleased for him. He’s the one you can go to if you have questions. He’s a big face in the changing room.”

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