EPL

Jeremy Doku says Manchester City need to keep proving they are the ‘best team’

By Sports Desk October 22, 2023

Jeremy Doku is convinced Manchester City are the best and is determined to prove it.

The Belgium winger shone as the champions got back to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-1 success over Brighton at the Etihad Stadium.

Doku created City’s opening goal for Julian Alvarez and was a constant threat on the left as City put the successive defeats they suffered prior to the international break behind them.

Doku, a £55million summer signing from Rennes, said: “It was very important – not only for the table but also just for us in our heads.

“It was a difficult game but we are a good team, the best team for me and we have to prove it every time, every game we are on the pitch. Here, we did it.”

City looked to be cruising to victory after Alvarez’s seventh goal of the campaign on seven minutes was followed by a clinical strike from Erling Haaland 12 minutes later.

Doku, who gave veteran former City player James Milner a particularly torrid time, twice curled efforts narrowly over as the hosts threatened more.

The Seagulls rallied after the break Ansu Fati gave them hope with a reply 17 minutes from time.

City were then left clinging on after Manuel Akanji was sent off for a second bookable offence in stoppage time, a dismissal that means he will now miss next weekend’s Manchester derby.

“Some games like this are difficult but we kept on going,” said Doku. “It was 10 against 11 at the end but we showed that we are there mentality, so aggressive.

“We’re happy with the result after some difficult results that we had the past weeks. It was important mentally and I hope we can keep on going like this.”

For Brighton, the result was compounded by the loss of Danny Welbeck and Solly March to injury, the pair joining an already lengthy casualty list that includes Julio Enciso, Jakub Moder, Pervis Estupinan and Tariq Lamptey.

Yet after being outplayed in the first half, the visitors can take confidence from their recovery in the second period.

Goalkeeper Jason Steele said: “It was a game of two halves. In the first half we didn’t play good, nowhere near good enough for our level.

“In the second half I think we showed what we’re about a lot more. We were braver, we pressed better and that was the big difference.

“We had the chances in the second half to definitely get a point and ultimately we didn’t, so we leave disappointed.

“But with the second-half performance, at least we showed ourselves a little bit more.”

Related items

  • Paqueta to remain in Brazil's Copa America squad despite FA charges Paqueta to remain in Brazil's Copa America squad despite FA charges

    The Brazilian Football Association (CBF) confirmed Lucas Paqueta will remain in Brazil’s Copa America squad despite being charged over alleged breaches of betting rules by the English Football Association (FA).

    Last August, it was reported the FA had opened an investigation into suspicious betting activity surrounding Paqueta, who said he was cooperating with the FA’s probe in March.

    The West Ham midfielder is accused of intentionally seeking to receive a card in four different Premier League fixtures, three in the 2022-23 season and one on the opening matchday of 2023-24, with the charges brought against him last Thursday.

    Paqueta, who has until June 3 to respond to the charges, addressed the situation on social media saying, "I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name."

    Now, the CBF has confirmed that Paqueta will be staying in the national squad for the upcoming tournament following discussions between the two football associations.

    "Given the facts reported by the English Federation, the CBF, supported by the joint opinion from the Legal and Governance and Compliance Directorates and the Integrity Unit, has decided to maintain the player's call-up," the CBF said in a statement signed by president Ednaldo Rodrigues.

    "Based on the information provided by the FA, it is categorically concluded that the player, Lucas Paqueta, despite the behaviour for which he was accused authorising preventive removal [from the squad] ... has not been penalised to date by the prosecuting body authorised to sanction him.

    "It is right to say that the player is free to perform his professional job until the present moment, the source of his livelihood and that of his family, in a full and unrestricted manner, whether for his club or his country's national team."

    Selecao are nine-time winners of the Copa America and will kick off their campaign against Costa Rica in Group D on June 24.

  • New York City FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cushing urges home fans to 'make a noise' New York City FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cushing urges home fans to 'make a noise'

    Nick Cushing is looking forward to New York City FC's next home game against San Jose Earthquakes on Friday and asks the fans to "build an atmosphere".

    NYCFC are on a four-match winning run and beat derby rivals New York Red Bulls 2-1 in their most recent outing at Citi Field.

    That run means they sit in third in the Eastern Conference and are eight points behind leaders Inter Miami.

    NYCFC have the opportunity to close the gap to second place with Cincinnati not in action this weekend, and Cushing is hopeful the fans can give the team an added boost as they try to maintain their recent winning streak.

    "I love playing in front of our fans," Cushing said.

    "I love playing at home. It is the last game before we get a bye week and an international break, and it's Friday night under the lights.

    "The Red Bull game was amazing because of the atmosphere, the crowd, the amount of fans we got in, and the way that we played.

    "We just want to make sure that we deliver a performance every game that makes people want to come to the stadium. A performance that makes people excited and makes them want to make a noise and build an atmosphere.

    "We encourage fans to be super noisy for us because it helps us. We want to keep adding wins. I'm excited, and I want to make sure that we start the game in a way that makes us really work together – ourselves and the fans – and then go and get another win."

    San Jose, meanwhile, sit second from bottom of the Western Conference, eight points off a playoff spot.

    They have not won any of their last three outings, though their last win did come on the road when they beat Colorado Rapids 3-2 on May 12.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    NYCFC – Tayvon Gray

    Gray has recorded the assist on the winning goal in each of NYCFC's last two matches.

    It is the first time in his career that he has recorded an assist in consecutive MLS matches as he had recorded just one assist in his previous 33 games dating back to September 2022.

    San Jose Earthquakes – Cristian Espinoza

    Espinoza recorded his eighth assist of the season in San Jose's draw with Austin on Saturday, setting up a goal for Jeremy Ebobisse.

    Ebobisse is the seventh different player Espinoza has recorded an assist for this season – the only player he has set up twice is Amahl Pellegrino.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK CITY FC WIN

    New York City have won five of their six all-time meetings with the Earthquakes (D1), including the last four in a row. NYCFC has scored multiple goals in all five wins, including scoring 10 times in their home matches against the 'Quakes (all wins).

    Indeed, NYCFC have won seven of their last eight matches (L1), including the last four in a row, and could equal the longest regular-season winning streak in club history (five straight in 2019).

    Meanwhile, San Jose have won only two of their last 48 regular-season road matches against Eastern Conference opposition (D11 L35) dating back to May 2012. The Earthquakes have managed to draw each of their last three road matches against Eastern teams, including a 1-1 draw at Nashville in April.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    NYCFC – 59.5%

    Draw – 21.2%

    San Jose Earthquakes – 19.3%

  • Cavani retires from international football ahead of Copa America Cavani retires from international football ahead of Copa America

    Edinson Cavani has announced his retirement from international football, meaning he will not represent Uruguay at the Copa America.

    The 37-year-old is Uruguay’s second-most capped player with 136 appearances, and their second-highest scorer (58) behind only Luis Suarez.

    Cavani made his debut in a friendly draw with Colombia in February 2008 and was part of the team that won the 2011 Copa America title.

    However, the striker has not made an appearance for his national team since the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, when they were knocked out in the group stages.

    In a post on social media, Cavani said: "My beloved Celeste, I just want to thank you for every lesson you gave me under your process.

    "I won't take long. Today my words are few but profound. Thanks to every single person who was a part of this road over the years. I was and always will be blessed to have worn this jersey representing what I love most in this world, my country.

    "They were without doubt so many wonderful years. I have a thousand things to say, tell and remember, but I want to dedicate today to this new stage of my career and give everything I've got to where I'm supposed to be now.

    "I have decided to step aside but with my heart still beating, as it was when it was my turn to take to the pitch wearing this beautiful jersey. Sending a strong embrace to all of my fans."

    Uruguay will begin their Copa America campaign against Panama on June 23.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.