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Football: City won't surrender without a fight, vows Clichy

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Manchester City defender Gael Clichy insists the Premier League champions are still confident they can retain the title.

Roberto Mancini's side trail leaders Manchester United by a massive 12 points ahead of their trip to face Everton at Goodison Park and most pundits have written off City's hopes of a successful title defence.

But French left-back Clichy is hoping City can replicate last season's dramatic finale when they came from eight points behind to overhaul United and win the title on the last day of the season.

"If you look at the scenario, it is actually not that much different from last season -- eight points behind with six games to go last year, 12 behind with 10 to play this time around," Clichy said.

"If United don't make mistakes, they will win the title, but everyone is saying United have to lose four games.

"That's not true, if they draw a few matches we can make up points in that way. It's easier to be 12 points ahead because if you draw one and then lose one you still have a good lead.

"But one bad result can become two and then the doubts creep in. You ask yourself 'Is it going to be the same as last season?' What we want to do is keep taking three points every week and really keep the pressure on United."

City face Newcastle following Everton before a crucial trip to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby and then take on Wigan in a rescheduled fixture.

Clichy believes that run of fixtures will decide their title fate.

"The next three or four games are crucial for us and if we do well during this period, we will see," he said.

"It will be difficult, but knowing what happened last season we can't think it is finished as we know we have the quality to do it. All we need is a bit of luck, which comes with hard work."

First up is Everton and one man who knows that club particularly well is Joleon Lescott, who left the Toffees in 2009 to join City in a £22 million deal.

City have often struggled against Everton and Lescott fears his old team could make it hard for Mancini's men as they look to bounce back after their FA Cup exit against Wigan last weekend.

"We know it's a very tough game, and has been since I joined the club," said Lescott. "It might be the case that my move fires them up, but when I was at Everton we beat City on a number of occasions as well."

Sergio Aguero is ruled out for City after travelling to Argentina for further treatment on a knee injury which has kept him out since early March, while Mancini is also waiting to discover if captain Vincent Kompany, who has been out since January with a calf injury, will finally be fit.

Meanwhile, Shane Duffy is determined to force himself into the plans of Everton boss David Moyes as defender Phil Jagielka continues his recovery from surgery on a gashed foot.

Duffy has been limited to just three substitute appearances for Everton this season but is hoping to get his chance against City.

"I'm just learning every day for when the manager needs me, this is why I'm playing in Under-21 games," he said.

"It's important to get some match action so that if he needs to throw me in then I'm alright.

"It's a good time to be around the team and we still have a lot to fight for in the league. It's good to be around such quality players and I would probably learn more here than if I went out on loan.

"I'm happy to wait for my chance at Everton and hopefully that will be soon."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130314/football-city-wont-surrender-without-fight-vows-clichy