EPL

Mendy tells Man City to ignore critics after latest Premier League slip-up

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

Benjamin Mendy urged Manchester City to avoid dwelling on predictions of doom for their title defence following Saturday's dispiriting draw against Crystal Palace.

City squandered two precious points at the Etihad Stadium after Fernandinho's 90th-minute own goal forced a 2-2 draw.

Pep Guardiola's men had come from behind to take a late lead but ultimately missed a chance to reduce Liverpool's advantage at the top, which could be extended to 16 points on Sunday.

Mendy admitted his team-mates felt "sad" at full-time, but the left-back backed the Premier League champions to block out criticism.

"When another team is doing well you can't be upset or angry," Mendy said, insisting City would "deal well" with the latest setback in their bid to catch the Reds.

"We know when you start the season, after winning the league, you have to win most of the games. This is the truth, no-one can complain. [Liverpool] are a good team, strong team who win, win and win.

"So, in our dressing room, we try to focus on us.

"All the people say Man City are finished, they're finished. They can say what they want – we will just keep focusing on us, play our football, win the games, and fight until the league is finished."

Beginning with Tuesday's trip to Sheffield United, City have at least six domestic games - and a seventh if they progress to round five of the FA Cup - to address their deficiencies before facing Real Madrid in the first leg of a much-anticipated Champions League last-16 tie.

Mendy said the countdown to that Santiago Bernabeu blockbuster would elevate the team's motivation levels.

"That will be another kind of game – Champions League, big game," he said.

"Every game is big, but everyone knows that this game will be watched by everyone so mentally you have a feeling, the atmosphere, how you come to the game puts you on fire, [gets you] excited.

"We will be focused on Sheffield now."

Related items

  • Fati back for Gamper Trophy as Koeman leaves out Suarez & Vidal once more Fati back for Gamper Trophy as Koeman leaves out Suarez & Vidal once more

    Ansu Fati is back in the Barcelona squad for the Joan Gamper Trophy match against Elche on Saturday but there is no place once more for Luis Suarez.

    Fati sustained a hip injury during training and sat out the 3-1 friendly win over Girona in midweek but returns to bolster Ronald Koeman's attacking options.

    Suarez is not among those, even as speculation over his future continues to shift.

    Juventus are reported to have withdrawn their interest in the 33-year-old Uruguay international, with Atletico Madrid emerging as contenders for his signature.

    Inter Milan target Arturo Vidal is also not involved and there is no place in the 23-man squad for Riqui Puig.

    The 21-year-old made his first-team breakthrough last season but he is another player rumoured not to be part of Koeman's plans at Camp Nou.

    Lionel Messi returned and scored against Girona following his attempts to leave Barca earlier in the transfer window.

  • Villa sign ex-Chelsea, Ajax forward Traore from Lyon Villa sign ex-Chelsea, Ajax forward Traore from Lyon

    Aston Villa have signed Lyon forward Bertrand Traore for an undisclosed fee, thought to be worth in the region of £19million (€20.5m).

    The 25-year-old has agreed a long-term contract at Villa Park and his move is subject to international clearance.

    "We're delighted that Bertrand has chosen to come to Villa," manager Dean Smith told his club's official website ahead of their Premier League opener against Sheffield United on Monday.

    "He's a player with immense talent who will really enhance our attacking options."

    Traore cited the presence of Smith's assistant John Terry, with whom he shared a dressing room at Chelsea, as a factor in the transfer, while he also counts Villa duo Marvelous Nakamba and Anwar El Ghazi as former team-mates from his time in the Eredivisie.

    "I played with JT at Chelsea, I spoke to him," he told Villa TV

    “I spoke to the manager, spoke with the sporting director as well and some players I used to play with – Nakamba and El Ghazi.

    “I spoke to Nakamba, I talked to him a little bit about the club. Many things made me take the decision to come here. I'm happy."

    Traore joined Chelsea as a teenager and enjoyed loan stints at Vitesse and Ajax before joining Lyon for an initial €10m in 2017.

    He scored 33 goals in 126 appearances for last season's Champions League semi-finalists but insists he always wanted another crack at England's top flight.

    "I always wanted to come back to the Premier League," he added. "I had to follow my own way as well and gain some more experience.

    "I think it is the right time to come back.I think I'm coming back as a better player, with more experience."

  • Chelsea's Zappacosta and Juve's Pjaca join Genoa on loan Chelsea's Zappacosta and Juve's Pjaca join Genoa on loan

    Davide Zappacosta and Marko Pjaca have joined Genoa on loan from Chelsea and Juventus respectively.

    Zappacosta, 28, spent last term in Serie A with Roma but made only nine league appearances, having suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury while in the capital.

    The right-back joined the Blues in 2017, yet, having featured regularly across his debut campaign, he earned just one Premier League start in his second term.

    He appears to have fallen down the pecking order under Frank Lampard following the emergence of Reece James, but is under contract until 2022.

    Winger Pjaca, 25, has been at Juventus since 2016 after signing on a five-year deal from Dinamo Zagreb.

    However, the Croatian has failed to establish himself in the Bianconeri's first team – for whom he last played a Serie A game in March 2017 – and his spell at Genoa will be his latest loan away from the club after stints with Schalke, Fiorentina and Anderlecht.

    Genoa, who finished 17th in Serie A last season and narrowly avoided relegation, begin the new campaign at home to Crotone on Sunday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.