David Platt believes that Manchester City's unbeaten Premier League run will count "for nothing" if they do not start picking up more points, with the assistant manager citing Manchester United who have lost three times but still lead the champions by a point.
City's 0-0 at Chelsea on Sunday was the fifth draw for Roberto Mancini's side and Platt said: "The unbeaten run is there, it becomes a thing people talk about but it counts for nothing if you are drawing games and drawing games and drawing games. We see that after 13 games as we are still a point behind United, who have lost three games, but have also got 10 victories."
City travel to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday and Platt does not think the side's mindset is to preserve the undefeated record. "You don't try to protect it. What this team has learned to do over the last two years is go into every match and believe it can win," he said. "We will try to protect the unbeaten run but not to the point where we are going to stop trying to win games."
Roberto Martínez's team are 15th having beaten Reading 3-2 at the weekend and Platt is clear that City's start will not affect the Spaniard's approach to the game. "If we had been beaten at Stamford Bridge, I don't think Roberto Martínez would be approaching it any different," he said. "It [the unbeaten run] gives you a confidence that you are difficult to beat but that is all it does. The stats are there – if we get beaten in one game but win three rather than winning two and drawing one, you are two points better off."
City have no new injuries ahead of the Wigan game. Joleon Lescott was not in the match-day squad for Chelsea with Kolo Touré preferred as the backup centre-back alongside Vincent Kompany, who was carrying a knee injury but came through the match unscathed. While this suggests that Lescott, a former first choice of Mancini's, has fallen further down the pecking order Platt said: "[It's] very simple. There are a number of reasons why the manager would pick people. Vinnie was going into the game injured. Had Vinnie not played, then Kolo would have played right-sided centre-half. Our doubt before the game was whether Vinnie would get through it. When you are looking at the bench, you are looking at people who you would utilise. He's not in the starting XI and there are only seven can go on the bench – there's nothing sinister in it. It is not picked on form or ability or anything like that but is a strategic thing."
Scott Sinclair's £6.2m move from Swansea City in the summer has resulted in only four league appearances, two of which are starts, but Platt is clear the winger understands he has to be patient. "When a player comes to this club they are going to have to accept they are not going to play week in week out. Some will play more than others but when we spoke to Scott, he knew what he was coming into: that it was a big, big squad. The manager's door is always open to any player. If they feel they want to go and play, like Adam [Johnson] did [moving to Sunderland in the summer that would be understandable]. But he seems happy and hasn't made any noises about that," Platt said.
"When we took Scott, we sold Adam and we were probably having similar discussions about Adam, as he was fit and not featuring as much as he would like. Every player wants to feature more and Scott is doing fine. He has done well when he has come on, and when he has started games as well, but we have a big squad and everyone is aware of that. We felt when Adam was leaving, we needed the characteristics within the squad that Scott provides. Any player would want to figure more than he has done but we think he is a valued member of the squad and is going to help us."
Manchester City probable 4-2-3-1 Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov; Y Touré, Barry; Nasri, Tevez, Silva; Agüero
Wigan Athletic probable 3-4-3 Habsi; Boyce, Golobart, Figueroa; Stam, Jones, McCarthy, Beausejour; Koné, Gómez, Maloney
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Alfonso Jimenez
Have something to tell us about this article?