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Clichy: We need to remain focused

Gael Clichy

Gael Clichy

City host Stoke on Saturday afternoon looking to maintain this term’s perfect record.

The Champions have begun the defence of their crown in a sprightly fashion, delighting supporters with victories against Newcastle and Liverpool in the opening two games of the campaign.

Now looking for a third consecutive triumph, City take on a Stoke side that restricted last year's title-winning squad to just a single goal in 180 minutes of football. 

Gael Clichy insists the Potters will not make it easy and although City have home advantage, Manuel Pellegrini’s men must remain focused for the entire 90 minutes.

Clichy told mcfc.co.uk: “We know what to expect from Stoke, so this won’t be an easy game. Luckily for us, it’s at home so that should hopefully help us.

“But I can feel this year that the squad is really strong. We will improve week after week, so we can be confident after the games against Newcastle and Liverpool. We know we have the quality, so if we focus and are solid as a unit, we should be ok – but we will need to focus from the first till the last minute.”

While keen to point out it’s early days and there is a long way to go, Clichy believes a strong squad will only get better as players return to full fitness after the rigours of the World Cup.

“We are confident,” he said. “Some of the players in the first two games are not even fit yet because they were back not long ago from the World Cup.

“The squad is just unbelievable this year, we can really field two teams who can compete in the Premier League top five or six.  Of course during the season, some people will get injured, some will be unavailable so we will need everyone.

“It’s a really good start to the season. We can’t get too excited about it because we are only two games in but the future looks more than bright. Like I said, if we remain focused, we have a fair chance of doing something great this year.”

The encounter with Stoke precedes a two week breather from club action as players then disperse to meet up with their national sides.

City face a tough run of fixtures following the first international break of the season, with clashes against Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Chelsea scheduled in quick succession, and the defender is keen to sign off on a high with three points.

Clichy revealed: “Of course football is about a lot of qualities on the pitch, but as well it’s important to be fresh mentally. 

Going away for ten days with the national team is always good for the boys, and it’s even better when you have a win.

...Gael Clichy...

 

“Of course we like to play well and score goals for the fans, but the three points is really what matters, and then the players can go on international duty or have a rest.”

Joe Hart will be joining up with England alongside teammate James Milner, but the goalkeeper remains fully focused on victory against Stoke before contemplating the international calendar, and believes the Potters will present a tough challenge.

Joe Hart

“Stoke are a good team, they are well set-up by their manager and they’ve had a bit of time together now like we have, so it’s going to be a hard game,” Joe declared.

However, the 27-year-old is confident that if City keep adhering to their own high standards, rewards will follow. The English Champions have turned the Etihad Stadium into a fortress in recent seasons and Joe has hailed the City fans for playing their part. 

He added: “We’ve got high standards here and we are performing very closely to the standards that we want to at the moment. We need to keep on doing that and then we should be fine.  

“We’ve been good at the Etihad for a number of years now, we’ve got great support here and the fans have always been good to us.  We need to carry on doing well away and let the home form take care of itself.”

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