Gareth Barry acknowledged after his team's home defeat to Liverpool in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday that Manchester City will have to stand up to the psychological demands of leading the title race from the front.
The defeat on Wednesday was City's third in their last four games and prompted Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp to say "the pressure is on Manchester City" after his Spurs side closed the gap to the leaders to three points with a win over Everton. City face Tottenham at home a week on Sunday on the same day that Manchester United play away at Arsenal.
Barry said: "I am sure there will be a few comments made, especially as they [Spurs and Man United] are playing before us [this weekend] – that's an ideal time for it. But it has to be all about us now and we can't really worry about other teams. We should be focusing entirely on ourselves."
Barry said he sympathised with his captain Vincent Kompany who served the first of his four-game ban against Liverpool this week following his controversial sending-off against United. The City captain wrote on his Facebook page that he wondered if there would be more red cards sanctioned on the basis of "ifs and maybes".
Barry said: "I know Vinny's views. Ever since I came here he has said how much he has enjoyed playing in the Premier League because of the physical side of it. His comments just show he doesn't want that side taken out of our game. It's why the Premier League is watched all over the world, because it has more pace and more physicality than any other. Vinny was just pointing that out, and to see him get banned for four games for what was not a bad tackle is frustrating for him."
School pitstop for Super Mario
Mario Balotelli added to his City legend yesterday by turning up unannounced at a Manchester college, parking his Bentley and heading in – to ask students if he could use the toilet. After his 'visit' pupils at Xaverian College in Rusholme watched as he strolled around with his friends.