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Liverpool without Wijnaldum vs. Tottenham

English Premier League
By ESPN Staff

Eriksson tells City star Elano to toughen up

Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has told Elano to toughen up and come to terms with the ways of the English game.

The Brazilian's form has dipped after a thrilling start and he faces another test of character on Wednesday against a Derby side desperate for points at the foot of the league.

Elano, who arrived in the summer from Shakhtar Donetsk, failed to deliver on Sunday when City were dumped out of the FA Cup by Sheffield United.

He also allowed himself to get wound up after being constantly shadowed and harassed by wily former Wales captain Gary Speed.

Eriksson said: 'Elano was very frustrated and I have spoken to him privately about it.

'That is the price you pay for being a good player in a team that wants to play football.

'You just have to stand up and handle it, that's what you do.'

Eriksson made a raft of new signings when he arrived in the summer and he feels some players are wilting under the demands of a hectic fixture schedule.

He said: 'We have had four days off in December and four days off in January.

'Personally I like a lot of games but some of my players are struggling to get into the routine.

'They are not used to so many matches and all the travelling.'

Eriksson is still intent on strengthening his squad before the transfer window closes on Thursday.

He said: 'We are working and trying for two new players. It is really difficult to get really big ones as clubs do not want to release them in January.

'If we are not successful now, we will do our business in the summer.'

Eriksson expects a tough game at Pride Park, adding: 'Everyone thought it would be easy in the FA Cup but it wasn't.

'This one will be the same. Derby will get a lift from having new owners and fight us all the way.

'We have to play with heart - we need some more fire from the players.'

Meanwhile City have confirmed they have written to the FA voicing their concerns about how the cup game at Bramall Lane was handled.

The club believe that referee Alan Wiley and his team should not only have stopped play but instructed United staff and stewards to remove the balloons on the pitch.

City claim that the officials' failure to do so had a direct bearing on the first goal being scored in a tie which ended in a narrow 2-1 victory for the Championship side.