Football

Eliaquim Mangala admits room for improvement

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The pressure was on Eliaquim Mangala from the moment the defender sealed a £32million move to Manchester City last summer.

However, the former Porto man insists the huge price-tag has not affected his performances since joining the Premier League champions, although he admitted his debut season in England could have gone better.

Mangala became the second most expensive defender in history when he swapped Portugal for England, but his performances have not been up to standard.

He started so well

The young defender was thrown in to the deep end by Manuel Pellegrini, who handed him a debut when Chelsea visited the Etihad Stadium in mid-September.

City fans would have been excited by what they saw as Mangala got to grips with Diego Costa, handling him with all the poise of a much more experienced man.

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Things quickly went down hill though, and on just his third City outing he scored an own goal against Hull and was subsequently dropped for the next game.

Adapting to life in England

As a young man who had only ever sampled football in the top flight's of Belgium and Portugal, and Mangala acknowledged the need to come to terms with Premier League football when commenting on how his season has gone so far.

"I’m OK, fine. It could be better, it could be worse. It’s my first season in the Premier League and you have to adapt to a new style of playing," he told the Manchester Evening News.

Mangala wasn't cheap

After an inconsistent start to his City career, some critics have suggested the price tag is weighing down on the 23-year-old's shoulders, Mangala is adamant that's not the case.

Instead, he simply enjoys getting paid to do what he loves. He said: "In the morning I get up and go to training, to fulfil my passion.

"I’m lucky enough to be living my passion, and I want to improve above anything else. My transfer fee doesn’t particularly bother me.”

The French international was also keen to stress that the stick he's receiving now is nothing compared to what he experienced as a child.

He explained: "Ever since I was little people would wind me up: ‘The French are this, the French are that, blah, blah, blah. This is Belgium, you’re French. What are you doing here?’

“You know what kids are like when they’re young, they always like to tease a bit.”

Will he fulfil his potential?

City fans would have probably liked an instant return on the £32million spent on Mangala, but their patience could pay off if Pellegrini can get the best out of defender.

So far this season he's been in and out of the starting 11, but one thing that's never changed is the defensive strategy, and Mangala feels his coach's beliefs, as well as the chance to train with and play against Europe's elite, will help him fulfil his potential.

I think that every coach brings you something different,” he said. “Pellegrini’s very strong in terms of playing a four-man defence - quite a lot of our training is based on this defensive plan, a four-man defence.

“When you play games against big teams in the Champions League, great strikers, training alongside quality players then I can only improve.”

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Topics:
Manchester City
Football
Premier League

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