Sport : Football

NO EASING UP FOR CITY - CLICHY

7th March 2012, 07:27am

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Gael Clichy: Ready for crucial period

Gael Clichy: Ready for crucial period

Manchester City defender Gael Clichy claims there will be no easing up in the Europa League.

The Frenchman is determined to maintain a strong challenge in the competition alongside City's Barclays Premier League title push.

City eased into a last-16 tie with Sporting Lisbon with a 6-1 aggregate win over Porto last month but they had no other game between the two legs.

This time City must play in the Portuguese capital on Thursday and then return for a crunch Premier League game against Swansea on Sunday before playing the second leg next week.

With just a two point lead over Manchester United at the top of the league it has been suggested City might not be at full throttle at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, but Clichy insists otherwise.

The 26-year-old said: "It's really important. At the start of the season we were in four competitions and now it's only two and we have to go for it.

"The best thing is to take game after game, and not think the Premier League is the objective or the Europa League is the objective.

"With the players we have, we can do it - it won't be easy but we have a fair chance if we go step by step.

"We have been watching a few Sporting games and every time you play against a side from the Portuguese or Spanish leagues they like to play technical football, so it will be difficult.

"They are a good side but we are not scared of any team. We just have to play with our quality and hopefully we can go all the way."

Clichy played in Saturday's 2-0 win over Bolton and was responsible for the opening goal when his long-range shot was deflected in by Trotters defender Gretar Steinsson.

Yet with Aleksandar Kolarov equally impressive in the left-back position against Blackburn the previous week, and manager Roberto Mancini often rotating his full-backs, Clichy accepts he may have to sit out in Portugal.

He said: "You know when you sign for City the competition is there.

"I would like to play in every game but the important thing is to win the title and the Europa League, and it's great when someone brings something to the team."

Carlos Tevez marked his first public appearance in a Manchester City shirt for more than five months with a goal last night as City's reserves beat Bolton 3-1 at Hyde.

Tevez, whose comeback after settling his dispute with the club began when he played 45 minutes behind closed doors last week, played in front of a crowd of around 1,000 and swelled by members of the media.

Tevez, who had come close with a first half free-kick, scored City's equaliser in the 51st minute when he finished off a cross from strike partner Harry Bunn from close range.

Tevez was substituted shortly after the strike but his performance will delight City boss Roberto Mancini, with whom he fell out following the notorious Champions League loss at Bayern Munich in September, when he was accused of refusing to warm up.

He spent more than three months in Argentina without the club's permission before reporting back to the club's training ground at Carrington a fortnight ago and expressing his desire to make up with Mancini.

Mancini has indicated he will consider Tevez for a first team return as soon as he is match fit, but warned last week: "After three months it is not easy to play. At this moment he can't play. Maybe in two weeks he could be ready."

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