By William Wood | In Micah's Say
Having captained Manchester City as they progressed into the group stages of the Uefa Cup, Micah spoke exclusively with MicahRichards.com to give his thoughts on the game.
A sluggish first half against AC Omonia, which was illuminated only by Robinho’s trickery and a solid display at the back for the home side, was quickly eradicated by City in the second-half as the Eastlanders extended their 2-1 aggregate advantage.
After the interval, a lively Robinho raced down the left flank, cut the ball back to the advancing Elano and the Brazilian did the rest with a fine right-footed effort using the outside of his boot to hand his side the lead.
It was two just seven minutes later, with Pablo Zabaleta teeing up on-form team-mate Shaun Wright-Phillips for a clinical finish, and while Alabi grabbed a late consolation for the Cypriot-outfit, City held on to seal their smooth transition into the next stage of the European competition.
Yet another solid performance by Micah was made all the more memorable by his latest appointment as stand-in captain for the sidelined Richard Dunne, and the 20-year old was satisfied with his efforts.
“I thought I had a good game,” Micah told MicahRichards.com. “I did my defensive duties well but most importantly we got the result we needed.
“I would have liked to have kept a clean sheet but apart from that I’m happy overall.”
Having now stepped in to lead the side on several occasions, it would seem that Micah is a likely candidate to succeed Dunne as captain of City in the future. Did the result make it all the more special?
“It’s always special for me to captain City – I really enjoyed it and was delighted we gained progression into the group stages,” Micah added.
“It is great feeling to captain city, and even more so when we win!”
Many had expected that, with the likes of Robinho and £19 million striker Jo in their ranks, the Premier League side would comfortably see off their opponents.
Over the two legs, however, Nedim Dudić’s side were solid if unspectacular, and Micah felt that City’s squad avoided underestimating their opponents for fear of being caught out.
“Over the two legs I thought they did well,” he said. “In fairness I expected them to push us like they did.
“I think if you go into these types of games and expect to win upsets can occur, but we didn’t so I expected them to be a good side which they were.”
Following a more attacking display from the England international in the second half of their league clash with Wigan Athletic last weekend, Micah again demonstrated his prowess further up the field as he went close with a header early on in the game.
“I knew when I headed the ball it was on target and the keeper had to make a save, but I couldn’t get the direction it needed for it to go in.”
After watching his men secure their place in the 40-team group phase of the Uefa Cup, City manager Mark Hughes tipped his side to reach the latter stages of the competition, a prediction that Micah echoed while adding the belief that European football will improve his game.
“I’m really optimistic as well, though I know there is a lot of good teams in the competition – the likes of AC Milan, Valencia and Sevilla who are all looking strong,” he continued.
“But I think we have the quality to advance to the latter stages, and challenge for the trophy.
“It’s always good to play around Europe – you come up against different teams with a wide range of styles of play, and different types of players.
“It’s great for my own game too, as I get to play in the experience and gain experience.
“It also helps to build my reputation around Europe, and even the world.
“Every game I play in Europe I am learning, so there are many benefits both on and off the pitch.”
Micah Richards was talking exclusively to MicahRichards.com.