Republic of Ireland defender Ciaran Clark believes Aston Villa can wreck Manchester City’s title hopes by beating the current champions tonight.
Villa are in the relegation zone but claimed a 4-2 win at City in the Capital One Cup earlier this season — a result that gives Clark hope for tonight.
“It’ll be a tough game,” he said. “You know they are a brilliant side but we beat them in the league cup earlier on in the season and there’s no reason for us not to think that we can’t beat them this time.”
According to manager Paul Lambert, Villa need at least five wins from the remaining 11 games to survive, even though they have managed just five in the previous 27. Their next three home game are against Manchester City Liverpool and Queens Park Rangers and now more than ever they need the fans behind them.
“Our home support has always been brilliant,” said Clark. “All the lads know that they will be right behind us in the next few home games. ”
Though the London born defender has still to establish himself in the Ireland side, he has gone from strength to strength for Villa and manager Paul Lambert described him as a sponge.
The reference brings a smile from Clark. “I like to think that I am taking a lot of stuff in and trying to learn as much as I can from the manager and from the experienced players.
“I am trying to learn as much as I can and hopefully the more I learn the better I can become personally. All I look to do is try and improve day in and day out and just take on any advice anyone has to give me.”
Meanwhile, City boss Roberto Mancini may have bemoaned a lack of goals from his strikers this season, but he would happily settle for 1-0 wins.
Mancini has regularly cited the failure of his forwards to match the standards of last season as one of the reasons for the champions’ faltering title defence.
However, Mancini does not necessarily need an abundance of goals to get back into the title race.
The Italian said: “I hope that we can win the next 11 games 1-0 if it is possible because 1-0 is enough if you don’t concede a goal.
“But it is impossible that you don’t concede a goal every game.
“It is clear, if we are missing 15 or 16 goals now from last year, it is too much because 10 goals are probably six or seven points.
“This is the difference.”
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