Saturday 3 December 2016

Kelechi Iheanacho calls for 'focus' in order to improve Manchester City's form

Published 24/10/2016 | 07:51

Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho, left, celebrates his equaliser against Southampton
Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho, left, celebrates his equaliser against Southampton

Kelechi Iheanacho feels Manchester City just need to keep their "focus" after another frustrating result.

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City, who began the season with 10 successive wins, have now gone five games without victory after being held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Given that City remain top of the Premier League, albeit only on goal difference, it is hardly a crisis but the team are certainly experiencing a wobble.

Iheanacho, who came off the bench to score the equaliser against Saints, said: "Teams drop points in the Premier League, we dropped points as well. That is a football game, you don't know what is going to happen when you play.

"Everyone expects high for our team but we are human beings as well. We are footballers, we can make mistakes and we can lose games. We just keep moving, keep our heads straight and focus on the next games."

City's sequence includes three Premier League games and equals the longest winless run of manager Pep Guardiola's career.

With memories of last Wednesday's 4-0 thrashing at Barcelona still fresh in the mind, City were sluggish in the first half.

They failed to register a shot on target as Southampton successfully restricted them and they were punished when a poor pass by John Stones was seized upon by Nathan Redmond for the 27th-minute opener.

After all the criticism of Claudio Bravo's sending off at the Nou Camp for his blundered attempt to play out from the back, it was another error which brought Guardiola's tactics into question.

Stones did have an equaliser disallowed for offside against Sergio Aguero but it was only after the half-time introduction of Iheanacho, for the injured Kevin De Bruyne, that City began to carry greater threat.

Iheanacho grabbed the leveller after 55 minutes but City could not force a winner with Fraser Forster saving well from Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva.

Iheanacho, 20, said: "It wasn't our best but I still think we played well and deserved to win.

"But it is a game of football. We can lose, win or draw because the opponents are good players as well."

Eighth-placed Southampton's performance was largely one of successful containment and their players were happy to take a draw to extend their unbeaten league run to five games.

Even so, goalscorer Redmond felt the visitors could have gone on to achieve more.

The former Norwich winger told the club's website, www.southamptonfc.com: "We can take the positives, we've come away with a point, but with our mentality in the squad, we wanted all three points at the end of the day.

"But we'll take the point and we'll keep going. We've got some good form now in the league, so we'll look to continue that moving forward."

Redmond's goal was opportunistic but he revealed he had been waiting for such an opening.

He said: "From watching their games in preparation for the match we knew they would give us chances. As soon as I saw the opportunity I anticipated it and then I had to keep a cool head, which I've been working on since I came to the club."

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