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Away days baffle Lescott

JOLEON LESCOTT is at a loss to explain Manchester City's failings on the road.

Manuel Pellegrini's men slipped to a fourth defeat in six Premier League away games this season at Sunderland on Sunday, a run of results which the manager later acknowledged will severely damage their hopes of challenging for honours if they cannot address it as a matter of urgency.

However, Lescott (above) is struggling to understand why a team which has been so clinical at the Etihad Stadium – they arrived on Wearside having scored 12 goals in the two home games which preceded the trip to the north-east – is unable to replicate that form away from Manchester. He said: "I'm not sure, it's hard to say. It's not like we feel any different going into the game.

"Obviously, the atmosphere and the surroundings are a lot different, but every team has to play away and at the minute, we just can't put it all together and go on a run of results away from home.

"Yes, we win the games here and there. We won in the League Cup and then West Ham, but it's been stop-start away from home, so we need to knuckle down and pick up some points."

City have now collected just four of the 18 points they have contested on their travels and trail leaders Arsenal by six points.

But their latest setback was unexpected to say the least with Sunderland languishing inside the relegation zone before kick-off with just a single league victory to their name this season.

Sunderland have now beaten City 1-0 on each of their last four league visits, a statistic which further mystifies Lescott.

Asked why he and his teammates have found life at the Stadium of Light so challenging, he said: "I don't know, it's one of those things. I honestly don't believe we should have lost the game and it's disappointing to come away with nothing.

"They defended well; you have got to give them some credit. Their game-plan was spot-on."

Middlesbrough have confirmed former Real Madrid player and assistant manager Aitor Karanka (40) as their new head coach on a two-and-a-half year deal.