Minggu, 02 September 2012

Platt: City yet to hit stride

Platt: 'There are players here still in the pre-season phase'

City are yet to hit their stride but have still collected seven points from the opening three games of their title defence.

Their latest victory, a 3-1 success over QPR at the Etihad Stadium, was far less convincing than it threatened to be as City dominated the first half.

Roberto Mancini's men created a multitude of chances but were wasteful in front of goal and endured a nervy finish until Carlos Tevez scored their third in injury time.

First-team coach Platt said: "We are not over-happy in terms of performances at this moment in time but we are happy it is balanced out by the points we have got on the table and that we are scoring goals.

"It's not that we are not playing well but I don't think we are playing as well as we were at the start of last season when we were blowing teams away.

"We are not quite there with the squad in terms of fitness, because of the European Championship people coming back.

"We are almost using these games to get minutes into people's legs.

"I think after the international break Gareth Barry will have played another reserve game and had another couple of weeks' 'pre-season' training, Sergio (Aguero) will be there or thereabouts and we have got the new faces coming in.

"The international games will give David Silva another couple of games.

"There are players there almost still in the pre-season phase but playing games for real.

"You'd like to think by the time we get back through the door in 10 days' time we'll be in position to kick on as a squad."

All City had to show for their first-half dominance was a Yaya Toure strike but they continued to threaten after the break with QPR goalkeeper Robert Green kept busy and Pablo Zabaleta hitting the bar.

But as with last season's dramatic climax at the same stadium, QPR hit back as Bobby Zamora pounced from close range after Joe Hart kept out a fine effort from Andrew Johnson.

Edin Dzeko put City back ahead almost immediately but the hosts were made to sweat before Tevez struck as Ryan Nelsen twice had opportunities.

Platt said: "We perhaps didn't have enough energy in our side to open them up on a conclusive basis.

"When we did that we weren't ruthless enough. To go in 1-0 at half-time we felt quite comfortable but at the same time knew the game was always open, which proved the case in the second half."

Having signed 12 players since their last visit to Eastlands 16 weeks ago, QPR were a much-changed side from the one which narrowly avoided relegation in May.

They are still to win a match this term but after causing the champions some difficulties, manager Mark Hughes is convinced progress is being made.

The former City boss said: "We have to remember we were in the backyard of the champions.

"We came and pressed and we imposed ourselves on a very good team. I'm pleased with that.

"It is someth ing we can build on and take comfort from. It is important we keep on building and progressing in the right way.

"That's what happened here and we'll be better for it.

"I was encouraged by what I saw. It is progress from what we have produced so far this season."

Midfielder Esteban Granero, signed from Real Madrid in midweek, made an impressive debut while other recent recruits Julio Cesar, Sam Magri and Stephane Mbia should be available after the international break.

Hughes' squad has swelled so much he could not find places for Clint Hill or Adel Taarabt at City.

Hughes said: "We've got a lot of guys in the squad and everybody's fit at the moment. It's hard to fit everybody on the bench.

"We had to legislate for the fact we had two guys in the middle of the park who might have to be changed. I had to cover myself in that regard so unfortunately they didn't make the bench.

"But that's healthy. It shows we have more strength i n depth in the squad than we had last year."

Defender Anton Ferdinand was substituted in the second half after earlier landing awkwardly on his shoulder.

Hughes said: "He was a bit shaken up at the time and landed on his shoulder.

"It might have popped out and popped back in but we don't think it is too serious."

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