Football - Clichy demands more spirit from City

Gael Clichy has told his team-mates to forget last season's title glory and roll up their sleeves for a fight.

The France international helped City to a battling 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory at Newcastle on Saturday to ensure they maintained pace with arch-rivals Manchester United who are six points clear at the top of the table.

Clichy told City TV: "The only thing we have been missing this year is probably a bit of spirit. From last season, people expect more from us - our fans, ourselves. Last season was a great season, but like the manager says, we have to put this behind us and start to work."

Visitors City had to summon up all their considerable reserves to see themselves over the finishing line after the Magpies launched a concerted fightback, and Clichy believes that same spirit will serve them well as they attempt to defend their status as top dogs not only in Manchester, but in England.

Clichy added: "This could be an example for everyone because the work-rate was unbelievable from the players up front to the defenders and (keeper) Joe (Hart). That's the spirit we have to have.

"We know the quality is there - we can score, we have seen it since the beginning of the season that we can score against any team, any time, but we just need this extra fighting spirit and on Saturday, we had it."

City arrived at St James' Park still smarting from their 3-2 derby defeat by United and knowing that anything other than victory could extend the gap between themselves and the top of the table.

However, Clichy insisted they could not afford to dwell on that disappointing afternoon at the Etihad Stadium.

He said: "We lost the game against United, a great team. From 2-0 down, we came back to 2-2 and unfortunately lost in the last minute to a free-kick. Of course it was a disappointment because we lost the three points, but there were plenty of positives during the game.

"One game is not the end of the world and we just wanted to stay focussed for this game, and now this game is over, we are going to think for next week. We are just going to take game after game and see how it goes."