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Platt: City priority is to protect our goal

FIRST-TEAM coach David Platt insists Manchester City have not lost sight of the importance of keeping clean sheets.

The Premier League leaders have been prolific this season, scoring 39 times in just 11 games to open up a five-point lead at the top of the table.

With such firepower, the City defence has barely attracted attention but there is some disappointment at the club that they have conceded in all but four of those league games.

City even fell behind before beating QPR 3-2 in their last outing and manager Roberto Mancini has also said he would settle for some of the 1-0 wins often seen in Italian football.

Platt said: "Roberto wasn't saying he wanted 1-0 wins, he was more saying that 1-0 will do him as long as we take the three points.


"People talk about them (Italians) seeing 1-0 as a beautiful scoreline, but it's nothing to do with it.

"It's about saying 'No-one is going to score against us'.

"Everyone goes out with the attitude. You talk to (keeper) Joe Hart, or defenders like Micah Richards, and they want to keep a clean sheet.

"Last year we were 3-0 up at West Ham and conceded a late goal from a corner, and the boys were distraught.

"Defenders want clean sheets, and if you get them you will win more than you lose, and that's what the aim is, as well as continuing to score goals.

"Unfortunately, the two don't always go together."

City host the Premier League's only other unbeaten team in third-placed Newcastle tomorrow.

Alan Pardew's side have surprised many in the opening months of the season but Platt is convinced they are worthy of their lofty position.

The ex-England midfielder said: "We went to Stoke to watch them. They are very well-drilled, well-organised, and have some pace and some ability. It will be a tough game."

Hart goes into the game having kept two clean sheets for England in friendly victories over world champions Spain and fellow Euro 2012 finalists Sweden in the past week.

The 24-year-old said: "Every game seems to be a big one at the moment for club and country and we're really looking forward to that."