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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 20, 2007

Sven tempers mood at table-topping City

Sven-Goran Eriksson insists Premier League table-toppers Manchester City have 'a long way to go' before they can regard themselves as a top team.

Eriksson has enjoyed a dream start to life with the Blues, steering them to three straight wins without conceding a goal.

Sunday's 1-0 triumph over Manchester United must have been particularly sweet for Eriksson, who spent so long feuding with Sir Alex Ferguson during his time as England manager.

Yet, despite enjoying such a magnificent start to his career in English club management, Eriksson's feet remain firmly on the ground.

'We have a long way to go before we are a top team,' he said.

'We are here and we are fighting but there are a lot of things for me to work on.

'There are a lot of players here who have never played in the Premier League. They are not used to the pace and you can see it sometimes.'

If Eriksson regards his current project as a work in progress, the early signs are particularly pleasing.

Of his new arrivals, Elano and Vedran Corluka have been particularly impressive, while another, Geovanni, was responsible for Sunday's first-half matchwinner.

However, Eriksson would be the first to admit the real jewel in his crown has been inherited from former boss Stuart Pearce.

It is hardly possible for Micah Richards' reputation to be any higher but, at 19, the England defender produced arguably the best performance of his career so far to keep United's multi-talented strikeforce at bay.

'It is important to remember this young man is 19,' said Eriksson.

'I don't remember having a defender that strong and that quick at any age. That is a combination that is very rare indeed.

'He wins everything in the air and can fight with any centre-forward and then, if he makes a mistake, he has the speed to repair it.

'His pace is incredible. At 19, you just don't see that.'

After coming through the first major test of Eriksson's reign, City head to Arsenal on Saturday looking to consolidate their place at the summit.

But, if they do manage to get in front at the Emirates, Eriksson hopes his charges can reach the winning line in a little more style than they managed on Sunday.

'I have told the players that yes, I love to win, but could they please do it in a more calm manner in future, otherwise it will be very difficult for me,' he smiled.

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