Milner with Joleon Lescott in training (©GettyImages)
by Nathan Sohl
, read by 1,501 people.
James Milner has hit back at claims that Manchester City is a club divided and one that lacks team spirit.
Manchester United's first-team coach Rene Meulensteen declared that Roberto Mancini's side were a squad 'out of balance' and had 'too many individuals who are playing for themselves.'
Milner has reacted to Meulensteen's comments by insisting that City have 'spirit, determination and togetherness,' and has referred to numerous occasions when the Citizens have had to dig deep as evidence of this.
"Look at the season we have had and winning the FA Cup last year," said the City midfielder. "That first trophy as a group was great and you can look at games this year when we have been losing and shown character and fight.
"Even in the FA Cup game against United we were a man down and losing heavily at half-time. But we came back and could easily have got a draw out of the game.
"I cannot see a team of individuals doing that. You need that spirit, determination and togetherness to get through the low points of the season and we have done that."
Mancini has implemented a squad rotation policy in an attempt to keep the team fresh and Milner has cited the players' willingness to accept the policy rather than create a rift, as an example of the team's unity.
He added: "It's frustrating at times because you want to play every game and it's not going to happen. But that's your will to win and your drive as a footballer.
"But it's about the team, not the individuals. It's about City winning trophies and the rest doesn't matter.
"You want to play with, and against, the best and become the best player you can be. Playing with the kind of players we have here will improve you. You need competition for places and I knew it would be difficult to play every single game."
The 26-year-old has stated that his side will keep fighting until the end in an effort to overturn United's five-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.
"We are playing good football, had a great performance at the weekend and all season we have fought in all competitions and will do that until the end."
City will travel to Wolves on Sunday knowing they could be eight points behind the leaders before they even kick a ball, with United having an earlier kick-off.
Should both Manchester sides come out of this weekend unscathed, City will hope they can close the gap to two points with a win in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.