Arsenal defeat was the turning point for Manchester City in Premier League title charge, says Joleon Lescott

City defender insists it would have been 'criminal' to throw in the towel after Emirates flop

The external post-mortem as to how Manchester City had lost the Premier League title began exactly one month ago today. It is worth remembering how much has changed inside four excruciatingly long weeks for supporters of both Manchester clubs. Then, following another City defeat, this time to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, a collective coming together happened inside what should probably have been, certainly judging by the subsequent reaction, a desolate dressing room.

Joleon Lescott and Vincent Kompany have been as pivotal certainly as Yaya Touré and his headline-grabbing goals in the dramatic turnaround, and the former, a player who was not quite written off at the start of the season, but was not expected to be this important, used telling words to describe the desire that Roberto Mancini has inspired among his players.

Lescott (pictured right) used the word "criminal" if anyone there had, as was suggested, readied themselves to throw in the towel. Such a word felt important in the aftermath of such a crucial victory at Newcastle to explain where the kind of drive to overturn an eight-point deficit and a two-goal reverse in goal difference inside such a short space of time had come from. "It would have been crazy to have given it up after the Arsenal game," Lescott said. "That would have been silly. There was no chance of that happening. No other word for it, it would have been criminal. I don't think there was any way that could happen because of the attitudes of the players. At this level of our careers we are not going to just give up when we get close to something like this. The lads I play with have a never-say-die attitude and it is there for all to see every week.

"It was more a case of hope back then [after the Arsenal result] because it was out of our hands. As the results started to favour us, the Wigan game and Everton, we started to believe, but back then it was out of our hands so all we could do was hope. We didn't believe in it, more hope, but it was a case that if they slipped up we had to capitalise on that. Just as they would do the same.

"When I first arrived here [in August 2009] it was more hope that we could win the league, rather than real belief. We have developed and got a lot more players in and we are all starting to believe. It has been developing over a period of time. The likes of Vincent Kompany coming and Pablo Zabaleta, coupled with the players we already had here, like Micah [Richards], means it has been a growing feeling."

Unity has fed the belief, and therein is perhaps Mancini's greatest achievement, making so many players care about each other so quickly.

"We have been together all season and listened to everyone's opinion," Lescott added. "We know how close we are as a unit and it has been great to be a part of that. It's still not over yet, though. I just think the boys have won big things and they won't get carried away. When we beat Manchester United the talk straight after was of beating Newcastle. We knew if we went to Newcastle and we weren't professional, then the win over Manchester United would have meant nothing.

"To the fans, [I would say] keep a lid on it this week and let's not get carried away. If it happens next week, they can celebrate then. It is a bit different for Yaya, although it means as much to him as it does to us. If you look at his CV there is nothing here to faze him as he has won the Champions League. He has won a number of trophies, so for him it is just another game.

"Nothing he does surprises me, to be honest, because big players do important things at vital times. He scored in the FA Cup semi-final last season, scored in the final, and in training this week he said it was going to be him scoring, just with a normal expression on his face. He believes in himself and he believes that it is his time to shine. When you get players like that you believe in him yourself, because he is so confident. Big players do big things and he has done it again.

"If we could close it out it would be unreal. You dream of these things. I never once thought, 'Yeah, I'm bound to win the Premier League', but it was always in my mind. It will be crazy days if we win it."

Crazy, but not criminal.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam