Tag Archives: lescott

Manchester City prepare to sell Edin Dzeko, Maicon and Joleon Lescott

Dzeko, Lescott and Maicon head for City exit as Mancini prepare fire sale to fund move for Fellaini

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

23:21 GMT, 21 February 2013

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UPDATED:

02:06 GMT, 22 February 2013

Manchester City want to significantly slash their wage bill this summer with a ruthless clear-out.

The current Barclays Premier League holders have already begun the process of making their salary expenditure more cost-effective from next season by instructing a number of third-parties to find buyers for a host of players this summer.

Newly-appointed director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano have made it a top priority to streamline the club’s wage bill.

On his way: 27m striker Edin Dzeko could be heading for the City exit

Under threat: Joleon Lescott has also fallen out of favour this season

Edin for the exit: Dzeko and Joleon Lescott are among those set to leave City this summer

Players City are committed to offloading this summer are Maicon, Joleon Lescott, Edin Dzeko and Scott Sinclair.

The futures of Gareth Barry, Javi Garcia, Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri are also under review ahead of the summer shake-up.

Furthermore, City will make an instant 15million annual saving once Roque Santa Cruz, Wayne Bridge and Kolo Toure’s contracts expire at the end of the season.

Samir Nasri

Gareth Barry

Disappointing: Samir Nasri has never justified his City salary, while Gareth Barry is rapidly declining

The Etihad Stadium club will also look to use their unwanted stars as makeweights in their attempts to sign fresh blood.

The imminent clear-out is, in part, to ensure the club fall into UEFA’s financial fair play guidelines, but also designed to give the club more leeway in terms of wages in the transfer market this summer.

City will look to make at least two significant purchases, with Napoli forward Edinson Cavani, who has a 52million release clause, already identified.

Targeted: Roberto Mancini hopes to recruit Marouane Fellaini

Targeted: Roberto Mancini hopes to recruit Marouane Fellaini

Manager Roberto Mancini will also look to add a box-to-box central midfielder to his ranks, with Everton’s Marouane Fellaini viewed as a leading candidate.

It is understood the Toffees are aware of City’s growing interest in the Belgium international, but are unwilling to make a decision on his future until the end of the season.

City would be willing to stretch to 23million to land Fellaini, who is also a long-term target for Chelsea, in the summer and have already earmarked young striker John Guidetti as a sweetener in the deal. Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama is also a target for City.

Manchester City stars Joleon Lescott and James Milner ready for Super Bowl

Ready for the big game on Sunday, boys And we're not talking about Liverpool's visit to Manchester…

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

18:04 GMT, 1 February 2013

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UPDATED:

18:41 GMT, 1 February 2013

It's the biggest sporting event in the world, they tell us, and some of our biggest football stars can't wait for Sunday's Super Bowl.

Manchester City trio Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Micah Richards look quite the part here as they prepare for this weekend's showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

Ready to rumble: Joleon Lescott (left) and James Milner (right) prepare to do battle, with Micah Richards on refereeing duties

Ready to rumble: Joleon Lescott (left) and James Milner (right) prepare to do battle, with Micah Richards on refereeing duties

Lescott, a Ravens fan, and 49ers supporter Milner took part in a special quarterback 'crossbar challenge' at the club’s Carrington training ground.

And in case you were worrying about events taking a controversial turn, Richards was also on hand to undertake refereeing duties.

Milner eventually emerged as the victor, but only after a rule change. After both were successful with two events at hitting the crossbar, the winner was decided by who threw closest to the bar. Milner now hopes this is a lucky omen for events in New Orleans.

He said: 'It's pretty late but I'll try watching as much as I can. I think the 49ers will win it but it's going to be close.

Doing battle: Lescott and Milner are both big American football fans

Doing battle: Lescott and Milner are both big American football fans

'They're the favourites going in but with it being Ray Lewis' last game I don't think the Ravens want to let him down. I've seen clips of Lewis on the field and off the field.

'As a leader he seems unbelievable. He gets everyone going and it'll be a great if he signs off with the big one.'

Give us a smile, James: Lescott, Richards and Milner ahead of this weekend's big game

Give us a smile, James: Lescott, Richards and Milner ahead of this weekend's big game

Milner

Lescott

Who's going to be celebrating 49ers fan Milner (left) and Ravens supporter Lescott (right)

Lescott
said: 'I am a massive NFL fan and will be shouting for the Ravens this
Sunday. I tend to stay up as it's an entertainment event with the half
time show.

'We were lucky enough to visit the Baltimore Ravens when we toured the USA and I got to meet Ray Lewis.

'It would be a fitting end to an
outstanding career if the Ravens won the Vince Lombardi trophy in New
Orleans for him on Sunday.'

Richards, who is a relatively new
convert to the NFL, said: 'To be honest, I'm more of an NBA fan but it's
a big weekend for the NFL and I'll be watching.'

The day job: Milner training with City on Friday ahead of their clash with Liverpool on Sunday

The day job: Milner training with City on Friday ahead of their clash with Liverpool on Sunday

Up for the cup: Lescott (right) in action for City in their FA Cup clash with Stoke last weekend

Up for the cup: Lescott (right) in action for City in their FA Cup clash with Stoke last weekend

The three players will have more pressing matters on Sunday before the Super Bowl, and that's a Premier League clash with Liverpool.

A 0-0 draw at QPR in midweek saw City lose further ground in the title race, with local rivals United beating Southampton and moving seven points clear.

Roberto Mancini's men will be desperate for victory over the Merseysiders, before some of the City players settle down, along with millions of others, for a ball game of a very different kind.

Watch the City stars take part in their special American football challenge…

David Silva calls upon Manchester City players to close gap on Manchester United

Angry Silva calls upon Man City players to close gap on United by end of February

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UPDATED:

11:15 GMT, 29 December 2012

David Silva says his Manchester City team-mates were angry after their Boxing Day defeat at Sunderland, and has called upon the champions to close the seven-point gap on rivals United by the end of February.

City found themselves seven points off the pace to defend their Premier League title after being beaten 1-0 at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men came from behind three times to beat Newcastle 4-3 in a thrilling encounter.

But Silva believes City, who were dumped out of the Champions League in the group stages for the second year running, still have the quality to make up the ground over their bitter rivals, starting with a win today against Norwich at Carrow Road.

Battle cry: David Silva is determined to catch Manchester United at the top of the Premier League

Battle cry: David Silva is determined to catch Manchester United at the top of the Premier League

He told The Sun: ‘The defeat in Sunderland was a hard blow for us. But as we know that the Premier League is very open and if you give away chances you can be beaten.

‘Even so, there was a lot of anger in the dressing room — and not only from the coach. Those three points were so important because in our situation they could make the difference between us winning and losing the title.

‘And really, if we do not win at places like Sunderland, it is nearly impossible to fight for the success in this league.

‘Perhaps being knocked out of Europe had an influence but now we need to react and to demonstrate that City are the English champions.

Plotting success: Sergio Aguero (right) and Joleon Lescott (left) in training yesterday

Plotting success: Sergio Aguero (right) and Joleon Lescott (left) in training yesterday

All smiled: Pablo Zabaleta (left), Carlos Tevez (centre) and Javi Garcia (right) wrap up at Carrington

All smiled: Pablo Zabaleta (left), Carlos Tevez (centre) and Javi Garcia (right) wrap up at Carrington

‘There is a long way to go — but we cannot allow United any more advantage at the top of the table. The future is in our own hands but we have already shown how powerful we can be during our worst moments during the past year.

‘Our goal this season was the Champions League — but now that chance has gone we want to win the Premier League and dedicate the achievement to our fans.’

United ran out victors in the first Manchester derby of the season after a last-gasp Robin van Persie free-kick at the Etihad.

Silva and Co know that taking three points will be vital when they seek revenge at Old Trafford on April 6 for what promises to be a thrilling second instalment.

Larking about: Mario Balotelli (centre) has a joke in the gym during training

Larking about: Mario Balotelli (centre) has a joke in the gym during training

Star man: Silva (left) is hoping for a win this afternoon at Norwich

Star man: Silva (left) is hoping for a win this afternoon at Norwich

Manchester City stars raise money at James Milner charity ball

City slickers! Mancini's stars suit up for charity ball… and Hart belts out a song

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UPDATED:

15:21 GMT, 17 December 2012

Manchester City's leading lights were out in full force on Sunday night for James Milner's inaugural charity ball.

England internationals Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott and Milner were among those in attendance as Milner raised money for the NSPCC, Help for Heroes and Leukemia and Lymphoma Research before some of the squad headed out to Manchester's Panacea nightclub.

Taking Hart: The England No 1 takes to the stage on Sunday night

Taking Hart: The England No 1 takes to the stage on Sunday night

Among those taking part in an auction for the three charities were Milner's former Newcastle
team-mates Alan Shearer and Shay Given.

TV magician Dynamo provided entertainment along with several musical acts including pop band Lawson, who welcomed Hart on to stage for a sing-song.

City slickers: David Silva (above left), Micah Richards (above right), Joleon Lescott (below left) and Gael Clichy (below right) were among those to head to the Panacea nightclub after the ball

City slickers: David Silva (above left), Micah Richards (above right), Joleon Lescott (below left) and Gael Clichy (below right) were among those to head to the Panacea nightclub after the ball

City slickers: David Silva (above left), Micah Richards (above right), Joleon Lescott (below left) and Gael Clichy (below right) were among those to head to the Panacea nightclub after the ball

City slickers: David Silva (above left), Micah Richards (above right), Joleon Lescott (below left) and Gael Clichy (below right) were among those to head to the Panacea nightclub after the ball

City's stars certainly looked to be in good spirits and it is no surprise given their impressive 3-1 win at Newcastle on Saturday.

Milner and his team-mates welcome Reading to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to kick off a festive period that sees them travel to Sunderland and Norwich before a home fixture against Stoke on New Year's Day.

Manchester City stars shop at Carrington as Harvey Nichols set up Christmas store

Manchester City stars shop 'til they drop at Carrington training ground as upmarket Harvey Nichols set up Christmas store

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UPDATED:

17:14 GMT, 30 November 2012

It's not uncommon to see Premier League stars and their WAGs splashing their cash at up-market stores like Harvey Nichols.

But Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini appears to have decided, for the second year in a row, that his players aren't going to have any time off this Festive season, and that they need to do their Christmas shopping on-site.

Last year Harvey Nichols set up a nifty pop-up marquee at City's Carrington training ground to allow his squad to shop in privacy and comfort. It must have been a success because they've decided to do the same this time around.

Joleon Lescott

Christmas shopping: Joleon Lescott leaves Harvey Nichols with a full bag

Joe Hart

Dressed for success: City stopper Joe Hart

Keep it under you hat: City boss Roberto Mancini pays a visit to the pop-up store on Friday

Keep it under you hat: City boss Roberto Mancini pays a visit to the pop-up store on Friday

It's a lucrative move for Harvey Nicks, since many of the players frequent their city centre store, meaning the store knows what kind of things the players will be looking to buy for their loved ones.

And perhaps they will be looking to treat themselves as a reward for their 2-0 win over Wigan on Wednesday.

Edin Dzeko

Edin Dzeko

Edin in the right direction: Dzeko stocks up on gifts ahead the Festive season

The company has strong ties with the club, having already created a luxury corporate box at the Etihad Stadium, at which customers can even have a personal shopping session or a wine masterclass, among other services.

It can be hired for parties of up to ten and is decorated with Harvey Nichols clothes and products.

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Roy Hodgson calls time on Rio Ferdinand and John Terry

Game over Terry and Ferdinand unlikely to return to England as Hodgson says he's 'moved on' from controversy

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UPDATED:

17:31 GMT, 18 November 2012

England manager Roy Hodgson has poured cold water over the prospect of Rio Ferdinand or John Terry returning to the international side.

The former West Brom and Liverpool manager has said he has no intention of calling up Ferdinand, despite England leaking four goals in Stockholm on Wednesday.

Hodgson is also refusing to ask John Terry to reconsider his decision to retire from international football.

Out in the cold: Rio Ferdinand (right) is unlikely to return to the international fray

Out in the cold: Rio Ferdinand (right) is unlikely to return to the international fray

He said: 'I’ve moved on from the Ferdinand and Terry debate and I think the team has moved on from it as well.

'We are now looking at other players that we can play at centre-half and we already have some pretty interesting alternatives.

'We’ve had Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott who have done well, Gary Cahill and Steven Caulker did well against Sweden and I am also looking for Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to come through.

'That is what I have got to do, to make certain that amongst that group of players someone will come through and force his way into my attention.

'I have to find a couple of players who are good enough to do the job in the way that John Terry and Rio Ferdinand did when they were playing.'

Down and out: John Terry (left) is also unlikely to return after his retirement from England

Down and out: John Terry (left) is also unlikely to return after his retirement from England

Moving on: Roy Hodgson says he wants to focus on the next crop of players

Moving on: Roy Hodgson says he wants to focus on the next crop of players

Terry decided to quit international football after he was charged by the FA for racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother, Anton, at Loftus Road last season.

The Chelsea captain was cleared of criminal charges earlier this year.

Ferdinand, meanwhile, was exiled by Hodgson when he selected Terry over the Manchester United centre back in his Euro 2012 squad.

Hodgson acknowledged the stellar work of the pair over the years for England, but hopes the newer recruits can step up and fill the void left by two vastly experienced centre backs.

'I have to hope that amongst that group of players – and maybe someone else will come on the scene and force his way in – I can find a couple of players who can do the job in the way John and Rio were when they were playing a few years ago.'

Roberto Mancini sick of being blamed

Mancini's meltdown: I'm fed up taking the blame for my City players

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UPDATED:

23:06 GMT, 10 November 2012

For someone blessed with a bulging trophy cabinet, a 37million contract and heart-throb status in Manchester and Italy, Robert Mancini is awfully tetchy these days.

Nobody it seems is safe from a wild-eyed rant by the 47-year-old Italian, as City players Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott and Joe Hart, executive Brian Marwood, referee Peter Rasmussen and even a Champions League pitchside cameraman can all testify.

No wonder Sky Sports will keep a lens trained on Mancini at all times during City's game against Tottenham on Sunday in case the manager combusts in the technical area over some perceived slight from his own players or the match officials.

In plain sight: Roberto Mancini prepares to enter Carrington

In plain sight: A well-dressed and well-drilled Roberto Mancini prepares to enter Carrington

WATCHING BRIEF

Manchester City v Tottenham

TV: Live on Sunday, Sky Sports 1, 1:30pm

Venue: Etihad Stadium

At face value, Mancini has nothing to
get hysterical about as he welcomes Andre Villas-Boas to the Etihad
Stadium. City are champions and the only unbeaten team in the Premier
League this season.

The club insist his job is safe even
if they finish bottom of their Champions League group, and his close
friends, including City coach David Platt, are adamant he will not walk
away voluntarily from the project, having turned down the Russian
national team job to sign a five-year contract in the summer.

On top of that, he no longer has to
work on transfer deals with Marwood, who he did not respect. But the
arrival of new sporting director Txiki Begiristain from Barcelona won't
mean more funds in January and has also given conspiracy theorists the
opportunity to link Pep Guardiola with the Etihad Stadium.

Yet something is still troubling Mancini – and the relationship with his own players is the key to his future.

Keep calm: Mancini (left) lost his cool as Manchester City drew with Ajax on Tuesday night

Keep calm: Mancini (left) lost his cool as Manchester City drew with Ajax on Tuesday night

Keep calm: Mancini lost his cool as Manchester City drew with Ajax on Tuesday night

Keep calm: Mancini lost his cool as Manchester City drew with Ajax on Tuesday night

No matter how rich an owner, modern football has shown that the players hold the power on all firstteam matters.

Roman Abramovich, the wealthiest and most powerful individual owner football has seen, proved that earlier this year.

He spent 13million and gambled his
own reputation by bringing in Villas-Boas to Chelsea in 2011 to replace
Carlo Ancelotti. But such is the investment in players' wages that, when
John Terry, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard decided they were not
having the young Portuguese manager, Abramovich backed the players,
sacking Villas-Boas after less than a year.

Example set: If Mancini's attitude was more like his captain Vincent Kompany (centre), his life would be a lot easier

Example set: If Mancini's attitude was more like his captain Vincent Kompany (centre), his life would be a lot easier

City's players have never liked
Mancini because of his aloofness, strict discipline and mixed public
messages. But until now they have always respected him, and his ability
to organise a team pattern and deliver trophies, the FA Cup in 2011 and
Premier League title in May.

But that fragile peace was exploded in the hours after the Champions League defeat at Ajax.

Mancini angrily confronted them in
the dressing room and told them he had personally taken the blame in
front of the world's media to protect them. But with his next breath he
shouted in temper that he actually did blame them for the 3-1 defeat
which had all but killed their prospects of reaching the knockout stages
this season.

The reaction of most players was one
of disgust that Mancini had claimed in one breath to be trying to
protect them, and in the next treated them with contempt. Since that
game, City have struggled to beat Swansea and been held to draws by West
Ham and in the return game with Ajax.

Tractor boy: Balotelli warms up in training

Tractor boy: Balotelli warms up in training

It makes the performance, as well as
the result, against Spurs today absolutely crucial. 'Some of the players
hated him for what he did after the first Ajax game,' said a
well-connected source.

'When the manager comes in and tries
to be clever, explaining how he has been protecting them but doesn't
mean it, that's not good for morale. Only time will tell but it might
prove a tipping point in their relationship with him.'

Mancini has been down this road
before. He regarded the 2010 FA Cup final as a make-or-break game for
him, believing defeat against Stoke City at Wembley would give Marwood
and his other enemies the chance to sack him.

Last season he earned a new deal when
a late rally saw them make up eight points on Manchester United in the
closing weeks to become champions.

Just before then, he had resembled a
dead man walking, particularly when Mario Balotelli was sent off in a
defeat at Arsenal to leave United odds-on title favourites.

The question is whether the City
players are motivated enough now to save Mancini's skin again. An
additional problem is what support Mancini will get in January.

Last summer, he wanted A-list signings but was given Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia instead.

The manager stressed at a meeting
with Begiristain last week he would like to do business in the next
window but the view from the top in Abu Dhabi is players such as Edin
Dzeko, Balotelli or Joleon Lescott will have to be sold to finance any
new purchases.

Dangerman: Jermain Defoe hit three against Maribor in midwek

Dangerman: Jermain Defoe hit three against Maribor in midwek

And none of the City squad are keen
to leave because no other clubs can match their wages. Mancini is
fighting the only way he knows how, with intensity and passion.

Platt, a former team-mate of his at
Sampdoria, thinks the Italian will have to be carried out of Manchester
kicking and screaming rather than walk of his own accord.

'I know him – his desire is to win;
it's what he's here to do,' said Platt, now on the City coaching staff
and a valuable ally for the manager.

'He signed a five-year contract in
the summer which was given to him by the football club by virtue of the
fact he's the manager of the league champions. And at the start of this
weekend's fixtures, we were two points off the top in third place after
10 games, with 28 to go. That's 84 points to play for. It's hardly a
crisis.'

With so much at stake, the biggest
decision for Mancini is whether to hand Balotelli his 50th City
appearance. The bad boy of Italian football has come to epitomise the
chaos at City, although he did set up the titlewinning goal in May for
Sergio Aguero.

New look: Mario Balotelli's paint job will turn heads

New look: Mario Balotelli's Bentley has been covered in army camouflage vinyl wrap

New look: Balotelli arrives at training

Causing a stir: City staff admire Mario's latest stunt

Causing a stir: Incredulous City staff admire Mario's latest stunt to keep out of the limelight

Platt insisted: 'Roberto manages him
to try to get the best out of his talent. I've grumbled and groaned as a
player. It's not until you actually put a tracksuit on and put a
whistle in your mouth that you realise just how much of a git you were.

'That's the nature of the beast in
being a footballer. You are heightened into that competitive edge every
day. If you are taken off in games, you don't expect to be happy about
it.'

Sunday's game against Spurs could be a
watershed. Win to stay in contention at the top and Mancini may feel
relaxed enough to do his own press conferences next week (Platt stood in
for him on Friday).

Lose and the commotion surrounding
the club will not go away, even if there is little evidence that
Guardiola sees City as his dream job.

Captain Vincent Kompany will try to
walk out of the tunnel with a sense of balance. 'You won't ever hear me
say one game is less important than another,' said the Belgian.

'Tottenham will want to bounce back
from the defeat they had last weekend (1-0 to Wigan). We want to show
that we can carry on with this unbeaten streak, so it's a game to look
forward to.'

They are wise words from the calm
defender. If only his manager could keep a similar sense of proportion,
his life would be a lot easier right now.

Kick It Out to ask English football authorities to splash more cash to combat racism

Kick It Out to ask English football authorities to splash more cash to combat racism

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 9 November 2012

Kick It Out are to ask England's football authorities to 'show them the money'.

The anti-racism organisation are planning to make a request to the Football Association, Premier League and Professional Footballers' Association for increased funding to help them take more of a stance in their efforts to combat racism within the British game.

Kick It Out currently run on a 450,000 annual budget – funded primarily from the three organisations.

Show us the money: Kick It Out want more backing from England's football authority to combat racism

Show us the money: Kick It Out want more backing from England's football authority to combat racism

But the charity will lobby for bigger cash injections in the face of recent criticism from highprofile figures.

A number of black players, including Rio Ferdinand, Joleon Lescott and Jason Roberts, refused to wear Kick It Out promotional T-shirts during the organisation's main showcase period last month.

Plans are even afoot to establish a black players' union – news exclusively revealed by Sportsmail last month.

Meanwhile, the Society of Black Lawyers have repeated their threat to go to police over what they regard as anti-Semitic chanting at Spurs.

'We are serious, we aren't in this for sensationalism,' said SBL chairman Peter Herbert.

'We think the vast majority of Tottenham fans are sensible and do not engage in anti- Semitism. It's a very small minority who obviously don't care about any offence.'

Boycott: Reading striker Jason Roberts refused to wear the Kick It Out campaign's shirt

Boycott: Reading striker Jason Roberts refused to wear the Kick It Out campaign's shirt

Kolo Toure wants transfer to French club

Toure admits to French fancy as outcast defender eyes Man City exit

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UPDATED:

12:46 GMT, 1 November 2012

Out of favour: Toure (right) could leave in January

Out of favour: Toure (right) could leave in January

Manchester City defender Kolo Toure has revealed that he is tempted by the prospect of a move to France to play in their fast-improving Ligue 1.

The money pumped into Paris Saint-Germain by their oil-rich Qatari owners has helped them to attract stars such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and has swiftly improved the quality of France's top flight.

Toure has fallen well down the pecking order at Manchester City since he was suspended for a failed drugs test in March 2011 and he made just 13 appearances as City won their maiden Premier League crown last season.

'Why not France' said the 31-year-old when quizzed on his City future. 'There is PSG, Lille and the league is getting stronger.'

With Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Matija Nastasic all being favoured to the Ivorian this season he could be on the move in January.

Toure joined City from Arsenal in a 16million deal in 2009 and plays alongside his brother and international team-mate Yaya at the Etihad Stadium.

Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry on Manchester City"s defeat at Ajax

We've got to sort it out before we crash out, vow Man City flops as they stare at another early Champions League exit

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UPDATED:

11:02 GMT, 25 October 2012

Joleon Lescott has admitted Manchester City must sort out their defence as they face another European humiliation.

Big-spending City are on the brink of crashing out of the Champions League group stages after losing 3-1 at Ajax on Wednesday night.

That leaves them rock bottom of Group D with just one point from their opening three matches.

Shambles: Yaya Toure, Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry look on during City's defeat

Shambles: Yaya Toure, Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry look on during City's defeat

Hooked: Lescott was subbed on the hour after a night to forget in Holland

Hooked: Lescott was subbed on the hour after a night to forget in Holland

Lescott, who was woeful against Ajax,
was substituted after his error for the second Ajax goal and now faces
an uncertain future under boss Roberto Mancini.

And he has shed a light on their defensive failings that have seen them concede seven goals in three European games so far.

The England centre-back said: 'It's a
lot easier to do things in training because you don't know where the
opposition is going to play or how wide, and they showed they were
confident on the ball and worked for each other.

'It was hard for us to pinpoint our
positional play because they were so organised and compact. I think we
were prepared well enough, the same as for any other game, the only
difference was we trained at the stadium rather than at Carrington.

'It was just one of those things. We
know now it's going to be tough to go through, but we've now got two
home games so they are must win for us.'

City team-mate Gareth Barry is not prepared to give up on another frustrating Champions League campaign just yet.

Mancini says his side now need a
'miracle' to progress from a group that also includes Real Madrid and
Borussia Dortmund, and Barry concedes chances are slim.

But the England international intends to fight on until a place in the last 16 is mathematically out of reach.

Blame me: Roberto Mancini says the defeat was his fault

Blame me: Roberto Mancini says the defeat was his fault

Deserved: Ajax outplayed their opponents

Deserved: Ajax outplayed their opponents

Barry said: 'The way the results have
gone has made it tough but we have to try to win all three games and
that would give us an outside chance.

'We would have 10 points, and that is
all we can do – it's a massive, massive task, but it is still there and
we have to try to do it.

'Dortmund winning is the worst
possible result. When you are beaten you are looking for a bit of help
from elsewhere and it didn't come.

'But we have to concentrate on
ourselves rather than looking at other teams. There is an outside chance
and if they are behind us all the way it will make it easier for us.

'It's not over yet. You can't just
roll over when there are points available and we will give it our all to
try to win all three games.'

City's challenge resumes when they
host Ajax in a fortnight. That is followed by Real Madrid's visit to the
Etihad Stadium and then the trip to Dortmund in December.

The Barclays Premier League champions
have just one point from their first three games after surrendering a
lead given to them by a fine Samir Nasri strike.

Yet even that 22nd-minute effort came
much against the run of play and Ajax levelled on the stroke of
half-time through Siem de Jong.

A Niklas Moisander header and a deflected Christian Eriksen strike secured victory for the Dutchmen after the break.

New system: Micah Richards complained that the players were asked to play unusual formations

New system: Micah Richards complained that the players were asked to play unusual formations

Doubling up: Christian Eriksen scores Ajax's second goal in their win over City

Doubling up: Christian Eriksen scores Ajax's second goal in their win over City

Barry, 31, said: 'They dominated
possession in the first half, and we caught them on the counter-attack.
From that we should really build.

'We had a chance to maybe go 2-0 up
and didn't take it, and then they scored at a great time for themselves
just before the break. We started the second half well but they then
scored from a set-piece and that deflated us.

'Overall we can't complain as we were
beaten by a team that dominated the game. We didn't go out to start
slowly, it's just the way he game went.

'They played in the style they have
played for many years, by keeping the ball. We are not sure at the
moment what the problem was.

'From the outside people saw it as a
great chance to win, and then get back-to-back wins to set us nicely for
the last two games. It didn't work out like that and we have an uphill
task now.

'If we can get ten points we will
snap their hands off now. If it's not enough we will be disappointed
again but there are three games and we need to win all three.'

Barry also urged disappointed fans to stick with the team in the remaining games.

He said: 'If we have let them down in any way, we are sorry but we have two home games and one away and we need their support.'