Diao: City can expect more of the same

The Potters held Roberto Mancini’s men to a draw in their FA Cup

fifth-round clash at Eastlands on Saturday as they once again

profited from their most infamous tactic. Stoke were trailing to a

Shaun Wright-Phillips goal when Ricardo Fuller raced into the box

to equalise by heading in a trademark long throw-in from Delap.

Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given afterwards rued the fact the

hosts had fallen victim to such an old trick but Diao is promising

more of the same as the sides meet again in the Premier League.

Diao told the club’s website: “I think it is one of our weapons and

we need to use it. “It is working so we need to carry on using it.”

And with the cup tie requiring a replay, Diao added that Delap’s

throws will merely be one facet of what will be two tough visits to

Stoke for the Blues in quick succession. The Senegal international

said: “I think the Britannia, as everyone knows, is a very hard

ground to come to. “I can’t see any players saying they like to

come to the Britannia because they all know what to expect – it

will a hard battle. “We need to make sure we don’t disappoint them

when they come.” Even though it was Stoke who had to recover from a

goal down at the weekend, Diao felt the Potters missed an

opportunity to claim a place in the last eight of the FA Cup. They

only fell behind after the ball took an unfortunate rebound into

the path of Wright-Phillips off Ryan Shawcross. Gareth Barry later

brought a fine save from Thomas Sorensen but other than that Diao

felt Stoke had the better of the game. The 33-year-old added: “At

the end I think we deserved the draw or maybe to win the game

because we had more clear chances than them. “We went for it and if

we had played maybe five or 10 minutes more we would have had the

chance to score another goal.” Diao was recalled for the game after

being left out for the previous two matches following a poor

showing at Sunderland on February 1. The former Liverpool player

admitted he had no qualms with Tony Pulis’ decision to drop him but

hopes he can now find some form. He said: “I think in the last two

or three weeks I haven’t really been in the right shape. “I played

very badly – I think that was my worst game, at Sunderland, since I

have been in England. “The confidence was not there so I think the

gaffer did well to put me out. “There is a lot of competition for

the place. You play badly and someone else plays, you play well and

you carry on playing. “I just made sure while I wasn’t in for the

last few games that I worked very hard on the side and waited for

my chance to come back and to make sure I delivered what the gaffer

and fans are expecting from me.” Diao came to the Premier League

when he was signed by Liverpool for £5million after impressing

in the 2002 World Cup. He failed to make an impact at Anfield and

ended up at Stoke on a free transfer after spells at Birmingham and

Portsmouth. He is now happy with Stoke, where he feels Pulis has

created an outstanding team spirit. Diao said: “He has made the

difference as a man-manager, that is very important in this modern

game. “You need a manager who really knows how to manage his

players and I think he is doing it very well. “The other thing that

makes Stoke strong is that it is about the team, not the