Lescott praise for classy Micah

BY foxsports • November 20, 2011

Richards produced a man-of-the-match display in Saturday's 3-1 win over Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium. A constant threat with his overlapping bursts, Richards scored City's crucial second and then played a pivotal role in a match-sealing second penalty when he was bundled over by Hatem Ben Arfa. It is the type of form Richards has been producing all season yet England manager Fabio Capello seems strangely unmoved by such displays. Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have both been shifted out of more natural central positions to occupy Richards' favoured slot on Euro 2012 duty this season. And the return from injury of Glen Johnson, plus the inclusion of Tottenham's Kyle Walker meant Richards was not even picked in the squad for recent wins over Spain and Sweden. The reason for Richards' omission remains something of a mystery. However, Lescott has no doubts over the 23-year-old's ability. "Micah has been in immense form all season," the City defender told www.mcfc.co.uk. "His confidence is really high. "He is in the best form of his career and has the world at his feet. "I would say he is the best right-back in the league just now. If he continues this form he will be the best in the world." Lescott offers Richards an obvious example of how quickly Capello's mind can be altered. After all, unlike his young team-mate, Lescott did not go to Montenegro but then found himself starting alongside Phil Jagielka in that impressive defensive effort against Spain. It just goes to prove how much Lescott needs to concentrate on his club performances, something that has not been lost on the former Everton star. "It is nice to be involved with England," he said. "It was fantastic to be part of such a great performance and beat a brilliant team like Spain. "But this is my bread and butter. "I know if I don't play well for Manchester City I won't be getting picked with England." They might have just posted eye-watering losses of £194.9million, and they might have run out of chips to serve in the concourses at half-time, but on the field, City look more like champions with every passing week. Yet again they scored three times, taking their overall tally to 42 in 12 games, of which they have won 11, a new record. In Jose Mourinho's first season as Chelsea boss, the one Sir Alex Ferguson talks of as being when the bar was raised significantly for Manchester United, the Londoners reached the same stage with five fewer points and 25 fewer goals. The statistics are almost outrageous, so superior are they to anything that has gone before. Yet City boss Roberto Mancini is refusing to get carried away. He was not interested in watching United's game at Swansea on Saturday night, so sure was he the Red Devils were going to win. All he is interested in is the next fixture, which just happens to be a very important one, in Naples on Tuesday. "We don't have pressure," he said. "We know that the season is long and probably we will arrive at a moment when we lose. "Every three days we have a match at the moment and December and January is going to be a crucial time. Winning then will be really important." Mancini dismissed injury concerns over Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero, insisting both men were just suffering from tiredness after draining internationals. Aguero, who only arrived back from South America on Thursday, wrapped up City's win with their second penalty following the foul on Richards. Mario Balotelli had opened the scoring with the Blues' first spot-kick after Ryan Taylor had handled Toure's shot. Taylor's error gifted Richards a second and although Alan Pardew's previously unbeaten Magpies had chances, by the time Dan Gosling found the net, the game was lost. Now for Napoli, a team that evokes so many memories for Mancini, but, after their draw at the Etihad Stadium on matchday one, offer a clear and present danger to City's chances of reaching the knockout phase. "We are all set for Napoli," said Mancini. "The atmosphere will be fantastic and it will be a very difficult game. "If we want to win, we will have to play better than we did against Newcastle."

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