James Milner has revealed that Manchester City’s players held a crisis meeting following last week’s dismal 3-1 defeat at Southampton which left them 12 points behind title rivals United.
Manager Roberto Mancini was scathing of his players’ performance as their hopes of defending their Premier League title all but disappeared at St Mary’s.
Mancini declared: “When you play football and you are a top player, you should take your responsibility. If not, you can’t play in a top team.”
Today City play Leeds United at home in the FA Cup fifth round – now their final hope of silverware this season.
Milner admits the Southampton performance was nowhere near good enough and believes his former club could feel the backlash in today’s cup clash.
“The manager had his say and we spoke about it as a group of players as well,” said Milner. “We don’t need anyone to tell us whether we’ve played well or not. We have a dressing room full of international players. We know, for us, it wasn’t good enough. It’s down to us to bounce back and win a tough game against Leeds. We have the ability.
“It wasn’t near the standards we’ve set. We can lose games, things don’t go for you. We lost the United game when we didn’t deserve to lose. But last Saturday we deserved to lose and that’s obviously not good enough.
“I hate losing and we have to bounce back. It’s about putting it right in the next game, making sure you learn from your mistakes.”
That has to start today against Leeds, a club close to Milner’s heart. He became the youngest Premier League goalscorer when he scored for Leeds aged 16 years, 352 days in 2002 – a record he lost to James Vaughan.
“I was always a Leeds fan when I was growing up and even got to be a ball boy,” said Milner. “I joined the Academy at 10, trained three times a week and played on Sundays.”
Today’s game will be the first for which supporters can travel to the Etihad by tram, following the opening of a new station at the stadium. - Daily Mail