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Usher: Reds defence key at Basel

Liverpool about an hour ago
Read
Jan 29, 2013

Platt praises 'professional' Lescott

David Platt has praised Joleon Lescott for the professionalism he has shown in a season when he has lost his place in the Manchester City team.

• Blog: Iron Man made for Luton

The England international has seen Matija Nastasic take his spot as Vincent Kompany's regular partner in the middle of the City defence and was criticised by manager Roberto Mancini after the Champions League defeat to Ajax, when Niklas Moisander out-jumped him for the Dutch side's second goal.

But Lescott has become a pivotal player again because of injuries and international call-ups and could be City's only fit senior specialist centre-back for Tuesday's trip to QPR.

And first-team coach Platt said: "To be impressed by his attitude, I would have had to have expected something different, and I never did. He is an extremely good professional.

"Never once, since I came here two and a half years ago, from being an ever-present to sometimes finding himself on the bench, have his training levels gone down."

City hope Nastasic will recover from the ligament problem that forced him to miss Saturday's FA Cup win at Stoke to partner Lescott against QPR

"He has an inflamed ligament," Platt added. "There is no danger in it at all but we have to wait for the inflammation to work itself out. "He has got better every single day and travelled with us to Stoke, but it was a case of not running the risk. Had the game been on Wednesday he would have had a lot better chance than he has now - but he still has a chance."

City have tended to avoid pairing Lescott and Nastasic in the past, with Mancini usually preferring the right-footed Kolo Toure as Kompany's deputy.

With the Ivorian at the African Cup of Nations, they may have to go into the game at Loftus Road with two left-footed and, normally, left-sided central defenders, but Platt does not envisage any problems.

He added: "To a certain extent it has been about balance, it depends which game it was in, but that was when Kolo was here. Two right-footers can play together, so it is no difference with two left-footers."

If Nastasic is not available, City will either change shape to 3-5-2, with full-backs Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta flanking Lescott, move midfielder Javi Garcia back or give teenager Karim Rekik just his second Premier League appearance.

Platt explained: "Our options are Garcia, who went slipped into there on Saturday, Karim Rekik, Matija if he is fit, or we can go to a three."

He has ruled out making any signings in defence, saying: "I don't think we would get one of the ilk we would need to be better than the options we already have."

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