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By ESPN Staff
Aug 16, 2007

City boss Eriksson laments Ronaldo derby KO

Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has insisted it is a 'pity' derby foes United will be without star man Cristiano Ronaldo at Eastlands on Sunday.

Ronaldo's red card at Portsmouth last night means he must sit out the City clash through suspension.

The winger's absence should improve City's chances of maintaining their 100% start to the season - yet Eriksson believes the game will be poorer because Ronaldo is not involved.

'It is always a pity,' he said. 'As a fan or a spectator in front of the TV, you want to see the best players perform.

'But they have so many good footballers I think they can put in another one who is of roughly the same standard as well.'

Eriksson is very much in a minority among the City faithful in lamenting Ronaldo's absence.

The 1-0 win over Derby last night means the Blues could lose at the weekend and still be above Sir Alex Ferguson's men in the Premier League table.

Academy graduate Michael Johnson was City's latest match-winner, crashing home his first senior goal three minutes before the interval, ending a barren Premier League run for his side on home soil which stretched back to New Year's Day.

'The goal gave everyone a big psychological lift,' confirmed Eriksson.

'It has given confidence to the fans and the squad. There is a long way to go yet but we have two wins and two clean sheets, so we could not have started much better.'

Eriksson may have signed eight players already but Johnson has still managed to force his way into the Swede's plans despite playing only nine first-team games prior to Saturday's opener at West Ham.

Now he has his first senior goal as well, along with heaps of praise from a former England coach.

'I saw him on TV last season,' said Eriksson. 'He is a very fresh boy but for his age he is also very clever.

'He can pass the ball, he can defend and he has a good engine. But above all, he is just a very good player.'

Derby were enthusiastic enough but Billy Davies' men appear to lack the class to survive in the top flight at present.

Stephen Pearson had the visitors' best chance but fired straight at rookie goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel at a time when the game was still deadlocked.

'We cannot compete with the amount of money Manchester City have spent, so we have to do our best with the resources at our disposal,' said Davies.

'We are working hard in the transfer market but we are also trying to get more out of the players we have.

'At the moment I just feel we are not quite arrogant enough. We have to start believing in ourselves a little bit more.'