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Walker: It’s a joy to play for City

TIME FOR TRAINING: Kyle Walker is a happy man at today's practice

TIME FOR TRAINING: Kyle Walker is a happy man at today's practice

Kyle Walker says he is loving life at City and believes the Blues should strive to emulate the achievements of Pep Guardiola’s famous Barcelona side.

The right-back, who joined the Club over the summer, has become an integral part of the Catalan’s squad, helping the Blues to claim 15 consecutive victories and lift themselves top of the Premier League.

Walker says the team are thriving, motivated by their desire to consistently impress their boss.

Reflecting on his first months in sky blue, he declared: “I’m really enjoying it. I’m closer to home – my mum’s a lot happier now!

“No disrespect to Tottenham, I loved my time there. I spent a good eight years there and I need to thank them for getting me where I am.

“There are quality players here and it is improving me as a player. With the manager working with me day in, day out and passing on his experience and knowledge of the game, it’s a joy to play really.

“We’re winning games, which always makes football a lot easier, and I just want it to continue. We must not take our foot off the gas because it’s a long season to play and we know that the winter period is a very important time.

“We need to keep getting these results and see where we are at the end of the season.

Pep is very similar to my last manager in the way that he wants us to play. He helped me out – he wants the full-backs to be attacking but obviously we have to make sure the back door is shut!

“It helps me and that was a big reason for me coming here – the fact I wouldn’t be changing too much in my game.

“City were a good team last year but they just didn’t really click at the right time. They had some bad results but this year has been fantastic. I can’t put any fault on it.

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“The players have really taken to the manager since I got here – even the new additions have slotted in well. We’re all keen to learn and we all want to improve as well.

“I think just having Pep standing on the touchline is enough motivation in itself. You want to impress one of the best managers in the world.

“He’s won a lot of things and he’s got a lot of knowledge in the game so you need to take it on board and listen because he’s managed the best players in the world.

“If we can keep playing and keep doing what he’s saying, then we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

City head into the clash at the King Power Stadium in scintillating form and with an excellent record on the road.

With much talk of the Blues ending the season as ‘Invincibles’, drawing comparisons with European greats such as Barcelona, Walker asserts his side should aim high but remain grounded.

He added “It’s a lovely compliment because what a team that was!”

“If we can come close to what they achieved in Pep’s reign, it will be fantastic – but let’s not settle for that. Let’s go above that if we can because we’ve got the players to do it and the manager.

“Hopefully, we can merge everything together and come up with something special.”

On City’s away form, which included a stunning triumph at champions Chelsea, he reflected: “It’s been good. I came here last season from Tottenham and we had a similar record away from home, which was very good.

“It’s good that I can come here and hopefully, pass that on and be a good luck charm!

“I think it sends a good message (to win against the top six). Last season, City didn’t really get many points against the big teams so to have won the first three of them this season is fantastic.

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“Definitely, going to Stamford Bridge and picking up those very important three points there sent a message out to the rest of the Premier League that we mean business.

“The 1-0 wins where we can contain those players that Chelsea have is like a 7-2 win to us. We need to keep that going.

“In the last couple of weeks, we know as a defensive unit, we’ve been a little bit under par but luckily, the forwards have been flying and long may that continue.

“We’re professionals. We train hard day in, day out. Come Saturday or if it’s in the Champions League, we need to apply ourselves in the right manner and not take our foot off the gas.

“We need to keep plugging away. Even if we have to grind results out and get the 1-0 victory, it’s three points at the end of the day and that’s the most important thing.”

Last season’s trip to Leicester proved a miserable one for City, who found themselves 3-0 down after … minutes and succumbed to a Jamie Vardy hat-trick in a 4-2 defeat.

Walker expects a similarly tough test in the first game back from international break.

“It’s a little bit of disruption, obviously – the international break,” he admitted. “We all want to play for our country so it’s a good disruption.

“We just need to hit the ground running as we’ve been doing in the last couple of games and get back to work.

“Leicester won the Premier League two seasons ago and not much has changed since then. They’ve lost a few players but not much has changed so they’re going to be decent.

“We know what their game is – it’s more counter-attacking football. Jamie Vardy is quick on the break so we have to be careful of that.

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“We need them to worry about us and make sure we stick to our gameplan and keep listening to the gaffer and how he wants us to play.

“It (the international break) gave us a little bit of an insight (into Vardy). John Stones has been playing regularly so he’ll know a lot about him and he can hopefully help the other pair of centre-halves – whoever plays -but we just need to be fully focused on our game.

“We’ve been scoring a lot and we’d like to keep a few more clean sheets in the next couple of games but at the same time, if we keep playing the way we are, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”

Nicolas Otamendi is suspended for Saturday’s clash, due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Walker has been impressed with his Argentine teammate’s form – and goalkeeper Ederson’s – but credits City’s impressive number of clean sheets to a collective effort.

“Nico’s been fantastic,” he praised. “He doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

“We’ve got flying forwards that are scoring goals left, right and centre but Nico’s been a rock at the back.

“Obviously, coming in new and playing with him for the first time, you don’t really know what he’s capable of and he could go on to anything because he’s that good.

“It’s not just Ederson (who is responsible for the clean sheets). It’s the back four plus Fernandinho and the whole team.

“They say you start your defence from the front so it’s the whole team collectively. We score goals together and we defend together.

“For Ederson to have come into the Premier League – as physical as it is – he’s took to it really well and he should be very pleased with himself.”

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