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Stephens: We’ll need to be perfect against City

Southampton’s win over Manchester City shows what can be achieved, says midfielder.

By Alex Stedman • 10 July 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Albion midfielder Dale Stephens.

Dale Stephens believes Albion will need to play ‘the perfect game’ if they are to beat second-placed Manchester City tomorrow.

But the midfielder is relishing the challenge of facing Pep Guardiola’s side and trying to help Albion replicate Southampton’s 1-0 win against City last Sunday.

Stephens said, “Those results can happen and Southampton have been doing really well recently, but we know that it will be another tough game.

“Manchester City are one of the best teams in the league, but Southampton’s result shows what can happen in this division because the quality of all the teams is so high.

“City showed how good they can be when they beat Liverpool 4-0 so we know it’ll be difficult. You need to play the perfect game to beat them.

“But we feel in good shape and feel our performances recently have been good so that’s what we have to take into the weekend.”

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Potter's Man City press conference

Stephens was in the side beaten 2-0 by City when Albion made their Premier League bow in 2017.

“To be honest it was a bit of an eye-opener but playing against the best is what we’ve all worked hard for,” he added.

“We want to compete and play against these top sides and it’s another chance to get three points.”

Albion have taken seven out of 15 since lockdown ended, a good return considering they have had to play champions Liverpool, Champions League-chasing Leicester and Arsenal.

“We knew we had a tough run-in, but we’ve had some good performances with a good return of points,” said Stephens. “We did a lot of work during the break and when we came back to training it felt like a fresh start, so it’s been good for us.

“We have made progress and for us it’s now about how far we can climb up the table, not just how points we need to survive.”

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