'I need to play': Edin Dzeko pleads with Manchester City boss ManuelPellegrini for game time
Edin Dzeko has revealed his desire to play more for the club this season.
Dzeko has not started a Premier League game for City since late September, while the form of fellow strikers Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo has seen the battle for starting places become more competitive than ever.
And the Bosnia striker admitted substitute appearances in the Premier League, coupled with occasional run-outs in the Champions League and Capital One Cup, were not enough to feed his appetite to play as much football as possible.
“It could be better on both sides, for me and the team, definitely,” said Dzeko, when asked to assess the season so far.
“There are a lot of players and everyone has to get a chance to play, so maybe that’s why. Who knows?
“But I need to play more than I am. I’ve only started four games in the Premier League. But if you put me in there for 90 minutes, everything is possible.
“The first game of the season I played well, I just didn’t score. The second game I scored, then the manager changed me. I don’t know why.
“Then in the third game he changed me at half-time. Again, I don’t know why. The team played badly in the first-half, for sure, but it’s always on the strikers if it doesn’t go well.
“So I think I could definitely have played more than I have done. It’s difficult because you don’t have a run of games, then you come into the team after maybe four games and sometimes you want to do well, but you can’t do it.
“For three games in the Premier League I didn’t play at all. That never happened last season. I didn’t go three games without any minutes.
“There’s Champions League and Capital One Cup also, but that’s not enough for me.
“It’s important to hear from the manager when you’re not playing. Why are you not playing? What do you have to do better to play? So we’re talking about that.
“For every striker it’s important to play 90 minutes, not 45, then 50, then maybe 15, you know? But I’m still here and I still have 18 months left on my contract. But you never know what can happen in the future.”
Despite being frustrated at not playing as much as he would like, Dzeko said there was no bad feeling towards his fellow strikers.
“It’s competitive but when we play together or when Negredo or Aguero play instead of me, then I wish them the best,” said Dzeko.
“When we play together and I see one of them free to score a goal, I’ll always pass to him. It’s not like ‘I don’t want them to score’. Of course there’s competition and everyone wants to play, but we’re team-mates.”
Dzeko joined City in January 2011 for £27million, a Bundesliga winner with Wolfsburg and the top scorer in Germany in 2009-10. Although he has an impressive record of 46 goals in 118 appearances for City, Dzeko said England has yet to see the best of him.
“I think that’s definitely true,” said Dzeko. “I’ve always had some good games, some good parts of the season, but it’s always been up and down, never really consistent. Maybe that’s because I’ve never played consistently.”
With City having lost three of their first 10 Premier League games this season, Dzeko admitted there is little further margin for error from them if they want to reclaim the title they won in such dramatic style on the last day of the season in 2012.
Individual errors have cost City games they should have won and Dzeko conceded they must iron those out if they are to elbow their way back into title contention and remain there until the defining moment of the season next May.
“We definitely have to improve in terms of concentration, right to the end of games,” said Dzeko. “Mistakes happen, that’s part of football. You can’t erase that.
“But the problem is it didn’t happen just once. It’s happened two or three times in away games, first at Cardiff, then Aston Villa, where we should never have lost, then at Chelsea. Now we’re six points behind Arsenal, we can’t drop any more points before Christmas.”
In his recently-released autobiography, former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claimed City’s players eased off the season after they won the title, making it easier for his side to reclaim the trophy in his final season in charge.
“Maybe we just thought, after winning the league, the next season will be easier,” said Dzeko. “But the next season is always harder and it was true.
“At point point, the season after we won the title, we were 15 points behind United. It’s not that they were a better team, but we just lost too many easy points.”
Despite going backwards themselves last season, Dzeko claimed United have lost their major weapon in Ferguson, claiming it could take them some time to adjust to life without their legendary former boss.
“United, with Ferguson, was always a different team,” said Dzeko. “With Ferguson they were just...I don’t know. Maybe other teams were scared of them.
“He’s a legend and United definitely need some time to adjust to the football without Ferguson. That will take time. And this year there will be a minimum of five or six teams going for the title.
“Arsenal are playing well, Chelsea with Mourinho will do well and United, even if they’re struggling now, are always dangerous. We’re there, six points back, but there are still so many games to play.
“Tottenham have some new players, Liverpool are playing well, so this year will be very interesting.”
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