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Aug 26, 2010

Milner shrugs off Ireland's City warning

New Manchester City midfielder James Milner has refused to enter into a debate with Stephen Ireland, instead turning his focus on making his switch from Aston Villa a successful one.

• Ireland: Milner faces battle

The pair moved in opposite directions this month, with Aston Villa signing Ireland suggesting that Milner might not see regular football at City and claiming he was happy to be swapping Eastlands for the Midlands for that reason. Milner could afford a wry smile in response, especially as his debut on Monday ended in a 3-0 victory against Liverpool.

He said: "I have not seen the story but heard it second and third hand. Hopefully he can do well at Aston Villa and be a great signing for them. Likewise hopefully I can have success here. The set up is very good at City. The professionalism and attention to detail, down to the recovery and preparation for games, is right up there.

"So we are geared up to doing very well. It is down to us to go out on the pitch and see who far we can go. We will take it one game at a time. I knew it would be a good opportunity. Aston Villa are a very good club and we came close to winning something last year. Manchester City are also a very good club and moving in the right direction. They have a lot of fantastic players.''

Sheikh Mansour took in a match for the first time since the Abu Dhabi Group took control of the club as City thrashed Liverpool. He had a chat after the victory with manager Roberto Mancini, who said: "He was happy with the victory and the performance. He was happy for the supporters. I think it was a fantastic night for him. I hope he comes more often because it is important for us.''

Milner will sit out the return leg of the Europa League match at Eastlands on Thursday against FC Timisoara with City holding a 1-0 advantage as he was not registered in time. Mario Balotelli, who scored the winner in Romania, is again sidelined with a knee problem after missing the victory against Liverpool. However the former Inter Milan striker is expected to return against Sunderland on Sunday.

Mancini said: "Mario is still sore, so we must wait. He has this problem in his knee. We will wait for the Sunderland game. It is impossible he will play in our next match. We won the first game against Timisoara but it was difficult. I will make three or four changes as it is impossible for players to play every three days.''

Timisoara coach Vladimir Petrovic is hoping his side raise their game and gain a stunning victory.

He said: "City have a huge advantage. Not only are they ahead in the tie, they can pick two squads. I do not know which one is best. We have never been favourites and after the first leg it has become even harder for us. If we had managed a draw it would have been a different situation. We will try to attack City if we have the chance, knowing that it will be huge for the club if we did manage to progress in the competition.''

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