Man City’s Gareth Barry: It’s tough being defending league champions

Manchester City's Gareth Barry admits their Premier League opponents are trying harder to beat the Citizens this season

roberto mancini
Roberto Mancini's men won their first top-flight crown since 1968 last term Photo: Back Page Images

roberto mancini

Gareth Barry believes Manchester City are struggling this term because their opponents are trying harder when facing the defending Premier League champions.

The Citizens, who are the only unbeaten side in the English top flight, have drawn three of their opening nine matches, leaving them a point behind leaders Chelsea.

With City on the brink of elimination in the Champions League, Roberto Mancini’s side are under increased scrutiny after a run of below-par performances but Barry insists the Eastlands outfit are coming to terms with the pressure.

“The start of the season is completely different to what we experienced last year, not getting out of the blocks and not getting going,” said Barry.

“But I think this season is what being champions is all about.

“You’re going to find it tougher and the games will be harder. People want to beat you that little bit more and this is what we’re finding out.”

Micah Richards admitted the City players struggled to come to terms with Mancini’s tactics in a 3-1 defeat by Ajax in the Champions League last week.

However, Barry praised the Italian for tinkering with his side’s system at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, resulting in Carlos Tevez’s winner in the 61st minute against Swansea.

“It was a good change to be honest,” added Barry.

“Carlos pressed the lads that were holding midfield and put them under a lot of pressure, which allowed the team to press that little bit harder.

“The period we were on top in the first 20 minutes of the second half was probably down to that so it was a good change. It’s nice to talk about a positive one!”

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