Joleon Lescott previews City’s Sunday’s Community Shield clash against Chelsea.
City's 29-year old defender believes that the squad is under no illusions as to how tough the assignment is likely to be against a Chelsea team full of new acquisitions.
“They have a few quality additions to go in with the spine of the team that has been there for a long time so we know we’re in for a tough game and Chelsea will be a force again this season," he said.
The Birmingham-born player opened the scoring in the Community Shield last season and, even though City went on to lose the match to Manchester United 3-2, Joleon believes it actually helped City to overcome Sir Alex Ferguson’s men in the long run.
“I think it was actually the defeat that we needed – we’d gone through pre-season unbeaten and putting in convincing performances so I think it humbled us and made us realise that we’re not quite there yet which helped us kick on for the rest of the season.”
Kick on they did, all the way to the 94th minute against QPR – a moment that he still seems to be processing.
“In those five minutes I had every emotion in me, it took a while after the game for it to really sink in, it just didn’t feel real,” Lescott recalled.
“I took five minutes to myself, had a cold shower and stood there, thinking, ‘did that really just happen?’”
Sunday’s clash with Chelsea takes place at Villa Park, which is a special place for the England international - it’s the first stadium he ever graced as a schoolboy, the home to his boyhood club and something of a happy hunting ground.
“I’ve scored a few goals at Villa Park,” he grinned.
Those goals include the winning goal he scored against Villa last season, which, given that City clinched the title on goal difference, could hardly have been more critical.
Fortunately, his family of Villa fans are the forgiving type.
All jokes aside, my family are now Manchester City and Joleon Lescott fans and so long as City are getting good results and I’m playing well, they’re happy.
“When we won the FA Cup in 2011 that was an important step in giving us the belief to go on and win the Premier League, which was the ultimate goal,” he revealed.
“I think this season will be very similar to the second half of last season as teams now know how strong we are and that will influence how they set up against us."
"A few years ago it was just a dream to be in with a chance of winning the Premier League or the Champions League but we’ve got to believe that we’re capable of that. I think that anything is possible now for City."