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Apr, 19, 2012

Milner: No problem with City team spirit

James Milner has hit back at Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen's suggestion that Manchester City "only have individuals who play for themselves" and lack team spirit.

• Balotelli dismisses exit talk

Meulensteen claimed last week that City were stuttering in the Premier League title race because they do not have the same togetherness in their squad as United.

However, Milner believes that he and his team-mates have shown plenty of determination this season and rejected the notion that they are just a group of egotistical individuals.

"Look at the season we have had and winning the FA Cup last year," Milner said in The Sun. "That first trophy as a group was great and you can look at games this year when we have been losing and shown character and fight.

"Even in the FA Cup game against United we were a man down and losing heavily at half-time. But we came back and could easily have got a draw out of the game.

"I cannot see a team of individuals doing that. You need that spirit, determination and togetherness to get through the low points of the season and we have done that.

"We are playing good football, had a great performance at the weekend and all season we have fought in all competitions and will do that until the end."

Milner himself has had to swallow his pride a number of times this season, having made just three starts in the past two months and been an unused substitute for City's last two games. But he insists he has no problem with being rotated by Roberto Mancini if the end result is City picking up silverware.

"It's frustrating at times because you want to play every game and it's not going to happen. But that's your will to win and your drive as a footballer," he added. "It's about the team, not the individuals. It's about City winning trophies and the rest doesn't matter.

"You want to play with, and against, the best and become the best player you can be. Playing with the kind of players we have here will improve you. You need competition for places and I knew it would be difficult to play every single game.

"But you have to back your own ability to be a big figure in the dressing room, improve as a player and contribute as much as you can to the success of the team."

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