Updated: Friday, 15th November 2019 @ 6:22pm

City's Micah Richards calls for a 'reality check' over club criticism

City's Micah Richards calls for a 'reality check' over club criticism

By Craig Jones & Alexandra Moerschner

Manchester City’s players leapt to the defence of Roberto Mancini ahead of the club’s crunch match with Fulham on Sunday.

The blues manager has recently received criticism following dour 0-0 draws at home to arch-rivals Manchester United and Birmingham City.

Right-back, Micah Richards, 22, has defended the Italian tactician and claims the club is heading in the right direction.

He said: “I know a lot has been made about the recent results but I think people need to take a reality check and see that we are actually still fourth in the table.

“Everybody is saying we’re in decline and much has been said about the manager but he’s genuinely doing a good job and it is obvious the club is going In the right direction.”

Richards believes that City are still firmly in this season’s battle for the Premier League title.

He said: “It’s hard to write anyone off at the moment as so many teams are dropping points, look at Chelsea they were well clear a few weeks ago, now they are in a little bit of trouble but you don’t hear anyone getting on Carlo Ancelotti’s back.

“I think everyone should just give Roberto Mancini the time he deserves.”

This weekend City travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham at 4pm on Sunday and there is undoubtedly going to be an extra bit of spice to the game.

It’ll be the first time former manager Mark Hughes will face the blues since he unceremoniously left the club nearly 12 months ago, despite City having only lost twice in the Premier League at that point.

Richards said: “It will be nice to see Mark Hughes again although our main focus is getting the victory. It was well documented we didn’t always see eye-to-eye but I understand that he just wanted the best for me.

“I think much will be made of the fact that Hughes will be eager for a win but Fulham is always a tough place to go anyway, we’re not kidding ourselves.”

England international, Richards, believes that if City play at their best they’ll have no trouble bringing three points home from the capitol.

The defender also thinks the club are well on course to reach their pre-season target of Champions League qualification.

He said: “At the beginning of the season we decided that reaching the Champions League was our minimum goal, we are still well positioned to do that.

“Whether that’s in first, second, third or fourth place I’m not sure but we’ll definitely get there, with ease.”  

Team-mate Shaun Wright-Phillips agrees with Richards and feels that City are being harshly treated.

Wright-Phillips, 29, said: “Since we got taken over the press attention has been immense and understandably if things go wrong journalists are keen to get on our backs.

“We are a great side full of world class players and we have a manager who’s won a lot over his career in Italy, we are really well equipped to meet our objectives.”

Meanwhile, fans favourite, Wright-Phillips, has spoke of his frustrations of not being able to cement a place in City’s starting eleven.

The winger has only made six appearances this season in all competitions and this has led to speculation over his long-term future.

He explained: “I’ve always said I want to finish my English football career with City but yes in the short term future I would possibly consider a loan move but I certainly don’t want to leave permanently.”

Wright-Phillips faces stiff competition for a starting spot from England stars Adam Johnson, James Milner and Spanish World Cup winner David Silva.

Recently, much has been made about City’s players having rows with manager, Roberto Mancini, as the former Inter Milan boss is reported to have had bust-ups with Emmanuel Adebayor, Adam Johnson and talisman Carlos Tevez among others.

Wright-Phillips said: “I’m not one to criticise managers, I know what Mancini wants from me and I’m just going to concentrate on showing him I deserve a place in the team.”

The former Chelsea star said he couldn’t describe how difficult he finds not playing but vowed to make his mark.

He said: “I know what I am capable of for club and country so I just have to be patient.”

Former City star Mike Summerbee, now an ambassador for the club has told Wright-Phillips to keep working hard and he’ll get his reward.

Summberbee, 67, said: “Everyone at the club loves Shaun and nobody wants to see him leave, If he applies himself I’m sure he’ll get the games he deserves.”

Summerbee also called for Mancini to be given more respect and said has faith in him.

He said: “Rome wasn’t built in a day and I feel sorry for Roberto, it is clear he has passion for the job and I’d ask for people to give him a break.

“There’s a long way to go and I’m sure we’ll be there or there abouts come May.”