Richards: Stoke blip won't halt title charge
Stoke City 1 Manchester City 1
Monday 29 November 2010
The Britannia Stadium, in the view of Manchester City's Micah Richards, is the kind of hostile territory Roberto Mancini's side must conquer to prove their credentials as contenders for the Premier League crown. Given their failure to achieve that aim on Saturday, it may be that the top-four spot the defender cited as the big spenders' target is the limit of their potential.
They entered stoppage time leading through Richards' superb goal, yet Matthew Etherington's equally striking riposte was the least Stoke deserved, leaving manager Mancini frustrated on his 46th birthday. His unlikely scorer, meanwhile, was torn between savouring a useful point against tough opponents and ruing an opportunity spurned.
"It was freezing out there and people thought we wouldn't fancy it," Richards said, tacitly acknowledging the suspicion, justified on first-half evidence, that players such as Mario Balotelli and David Silva might go missing on a bitter day in the Potteries. "But we were up for it and defended really well, so it was devastating to concede. I suppose a draw was fair, but we feel we've proved a few people wrong. Last time here, we couldn't beat them when they were down to 10 men.
"It's probably the sort of place we need to come and win at if we're serious about winning the title," admitted Richards. "They're a very strong side and give you a real test, but having got ourselves into that position we should've finished the job off. If we approach every game like this, we can definitely get our top-four place. That's our aim and we're still on course."
Their improved second-half display culminated in Richards' goal, driven in after he dummied Danny Collins. "Adam Johnson and Carlos Tevez do it in training every day," he said. "I picked it up off them and wanted to show I can do it too."
Unhappily for the right-back, the player he was tasked with policing rewarded Stoke manager Tony Pulis' enterprise in playing two strikers and two wingers – Etherington firing past Joe Hart after Tuncay's audacious back-heeled pass.
Scorers: Stoke Etherington 90. Man City Richards 81. Subs: Stoke Tuncay (Pennant, h-t), Wilson (Wilkinson, 63), Walters (Fuller, 75). Unused Sorensen (gk), Higginbotham, Whelan, Gudjohnsen. Man City A Johnson (Milner, 82), Jo (Balotelli, 90). Unused Given (gk), Boateng, Lescott, Wright-Phillips, Vieira. Booked: Stoke Delap, Wilson. Man City Richards, Tevez.
Man of the match Etherington.
Match rating 7/10. Possession Stoke 47% Man City 53%. Shots on target Stoke 9 Man City 5.
Referee P Walton (Northants) Att 27,405.
Latest in Sport
Hector Bellerin: How saying no to Barcelona paid off for Bellerin - and Arsenal
Paul Scholes column: With Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
'I am the president of everybody': What Sepp Blatter said after winning re-election as Fifa president
Fifa bomb threat: Swiss authorities confirm a bomb threat has been made at the Fifa Congress
Michel Platini to consider pulling England and other Uefa members out of the World Cup if Sepp Blatter wins Fifa election
- 1 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 2 Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
- 5 Kate Moss on the naked Calvin Klein shoot and the obsession that ended her relationship
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'