Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala is hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Patrice Evra and silence the critics in English football by producing his best form next season.
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In a revealing interview with The Guardian, the French defender has admitted to struggling with the demands of the Premier League following his big money move from Porto last summer and insists the best is yet to come now that he’s had a season to adjust.
“I’ve had a chance to look around now. I’ve been able to study all the teams and it’s a big difference to the Portuguese league.” he said.
“In Portugal, in 95% of the games you almost expect to win. In England it’s a lot more competitive, there are more long balls and a lot more emphasis on the second ball.”
The defender was heavily criticised by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville for his display in the Manchester derby earlier in the month when he was at fault for at least two of the goals in the 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford but the 24-year-old has since come into the side at the expense of injured skipper Vincent Kompany and has steadied the ship to a certain degree.
He looks set to keep his place at the heart of the City defence alongside Martin Demichelis for the trip to White Hart Lane against Tottenham on Sunday afternoon as last season’s Champions look to secure a top-two finish in the table, but Mangala concedes the club have failed to live up to the lofty expectations set at the start of the campaign.
“We realise we have fallen short of our overall objective and we have to hold up our hands and say there are games we should have won and things we can do better.”
“We can’t hide that it has not been the season we would have liked and next year we have to do much better. We are all very aware of that.” he concluded.