Manchester City players aren’t lacking a sense of positivity about their teammates, training regime, collective performances during matches, or the general outlook of the current season, according to three veterans who have recently taken to the media to redeem perceptions of the squad.
Aleksandar Kolarov — who was rested on Sunday's loss to Everton — recognized City’s deficiencies, saying, “As players we can improve and we need to win more games but we are just at the beginning of a journey and I think we’ll get better and better."
Then, he praised manager Pep Guardiola for the desire that the team be “100% professional in everything we do – if we want to win things, every small detail is important.”
Kolarov has helped the team remain professional when they’ve struggled this season but the world is waiting for defensive mistakes and unlucky offensive efforts to turn around.
Fellow defender, Gaël Clichy — who played left-back for City on Sunday — made it appear as if City’s desire to advance made them vulnerable to Everton’s use of of counter-attacks.
He said, “We also know that sometimes you have to be realistic – when there are chances to take you have to score, and when you defend you need to defend better. So overall the message is that we need to be more solid and compact as a unit, rather than thinking about anything else.”
He strictly said that City is not thinking about winning the title but that “...in two weekends it can change, and we have to keep this in mind. We need to keep working hard and playing our way, and we know we have the quality to get points.
“The main thing is to be solid as a team.”
Yaya Touré also demonstrated sincere maturity in his assessment of the game.
“When you see over the game it is difficult to take because we were more unlucky than lucky – all the rebounds, the ball would always miss when coming back to you,” he said.
He admitted that Everton’s performance in the second half sealed the defeat and that he and his teammates are already learning from the Toffees' direct approach, adding that the upcoming game against Tottenham Hotspur will not be easy.
“Everybody has his opinion on why we lost and on those kind of goals, everybody is going to say, 'This guy this or that' but at the moment we have to be all together,” he said.
Touré’s passion has been obvious after early season troubles with his agent and Pep Guardiola. While Clichy and Kolarov could lose their spot to a new signing this month or in the summer, Yaya appears to be confident that he has a place in Guardiola’s plans. News that he has turned down blockbuster offers from China reflects a desire to see the project through to better days.
It is good to see that the squad is not in shambles emotionally, but they need to get results. Each of the players quoted above was each brought in years ago to cement the team’s ability to take the final steps toward European greatness.
In addition to their calm, collected approach to current struggles or “bad luck,” they need to use their experience to spark a fire to keep spirits high and to catch their stride in upcoming competitions.