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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 9, 2009

Richards: Give us time to build team

Manchester City defender Micah Richards believes it could be years before the club realises its full potential under owners the Abu Dhabi United Group.

Expectation levels have gone through the roof since the company took over the reins last year.

City, however, have struggled to maintain consistency in the Premier League and their form, especially away from home, has been inconsistent.

However, they still have a chance of lifting a trophy and face joint Bundesliga leaders Hamburg in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals on Thursday.

Richards has come through the ranks at City and has added a dash of realism to the current situation.

He said: "There is pressure with the new owners coming in - people expect us to win every game.

"But we need room to build, maybe three or four years. That will be the time to judge us.

"The team has changed a lot since pre-season. It was a case of people getting to know each other and we were trying out new things.

"We are more stable now and I do not think the pressure affects the players. We just give 100% every game.

"Hopefully we can take our home form into this game and get the result we need.

"This is a crucial match for us as we need a good result here. It is important to keep a clean sheet and if we could nick a goal that would be great."

City started out in this competition back in July and are about to play their 15th game in the bid to reach the Istanbul final.

Richards is enjoying the ride and does not want it to end.

He added: "Playing in Europe is a lot different to the game at home as the pace is slower.

"The UEFA Cup means a hell of a lot to the players. We have come this far and don't want to give it up."

Manager Mark Hughes has hinted Martin Petrov will play some part in the first-leg match.

Petrov only returned to reserve-team action on Monday at Newcastle after a six-month absence with a knee injury.

Hughes took in the game and was impressed at the way the Bulgaria winger performed on his comeback.

So much so he looks likely to get some game time after a 45-minute run-out.

Hughes said: "Martin is an outstanding player. He gives you great quality, not just with his knowledge of the game but his ability to deliver great balls into good areas.

"We have missed him this year. If we had the option of Martin before I am sure he would have had a positive impact on games.

"To see him play against Newcastle was a great thing for everyone. He had 45 minutes of good play.

"He looked sharp, he looked ready. He is very much in our thoughts for this match."

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