Belfast Telegraph

James Milner enjoys confident debut as Manchester City crush Liverpool

James Milner was delighted to be on the pitch tonight after a role in the spotlight during his protracted move to Manchester City.

The England midfielder completed his transfer from Aston Villa last week, with Stephen Ireland going in the opposite direction.

Milner denied he felt nerves ahead of the clash at Eastlands against Liverpool, which City went on to win 3-0 with him setting up the first goal for Gareth Barry.

Milner told Sky Sports 1: "Not really - I was just glad to get out there and play.

"Luckily I was selected. It's always tough against Liverpool - but we got three goals and a clean sheet."

Of the game, Milner added: "They didn't cause us too many problems in the first half, then they came out in the second half.

"The club is moving forward, they've signed a lot of great players.

"There is great competition which is healthy for any team so hopefully we can build on this."

Micah Richards insisted he was going to claim the second goal although Carlos Tevez would dispute that.

"It's definitely mine, I am definitely claiming it," said Richards.

"He had a fantastic game and wanted to cap it off with a goal but he has got the penalty so I am having that."

Of Milner, he added: "You work hard, you get a chance."

City manager Mancini refused to be drawn on whether his side are Premier League contenders.

"I don't know this," Mancini said. "I think it's important to improve game after game, we need to gel. We need the time to become a strong squad."

Of his side's performance, he added: "It was a fantastic night for Manchester City and I am very happy.

"It's very important, the mentality."

The Eastlands club started the game with Joe Hart in goal and Shay Given on the bench, and Mancini hopes Given will agree to stay and fight for his place.

The Italian said: "I hope he can remain here because Shay is a good man and a good goalkeeper.

"I respect his decision."

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson refused to be concerned at the start to the season which sees the Anfield side having claimed just one point.

"We are only two matches into the season. We had Arsenal in the first game which we had to play with 10 men (after Joe Cole's sending-off) and then a strong Manchester City side," he told Sky Sports.

"It's a bit premature to start discussing how big the match is.

"Hopefully in the next 36 games we can take some points."

The former Fulham boss added: "We were a bit unlucky to get beaten so heavily.

"I thought we had one or two good spells in the game.

"We stuck at it and we were a bit unlucky not to get one back when Hart made an incredible double save.

"We lacked a cutting edge and the organisation I would have liked."

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