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Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

Stephen Ireland blames form dip on ex-boss Mark Hughes

Stephen Ireland in action for Manchester City
Ireland has made 25 appearances for City this season

Manchester City's Stephen Ireland believes his recent form dipped because he was played out of position.

Former City boss Mark Hughes preferred to use £25m signing Carlos Tevez in the advanced midfield role, with Ireland forced to fit in elsewhere.

Hughes was sacked in December and succeeded by Roberto Mancini.

"I was being played out of position. Maybe as a holding midfielder, left wing, right wing. It's not me," he told the Football Association's website.

Ireland, who has been at City since 2001, added: "You have to adjust and think 'I have to do it' but if you want the best out of me you have to play me in my best position.

"Then I can be myself because the chains are off."


Ireland has featured six times in the 10 games since Mancini took charge, but was recently sidelined by a hamstring injury.

He has become a firm favourite with City fans for his wholehearted performances which have seen him linked with Liverpool and city rivals United.

"I have really worked hard over the last two years to build up my relationship with the fans," the 23-year-old added.

"Even when I was doing a signing session a few months ago I ended up staying for over three hours.

"It comes naturally to me. Even though I came over from Ireland, the fans still regard me as one of them. I am very grateful for that."

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see also
Man City 2-0 Bolton
09 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Injured Ireland out for two weeks
30 Dec 09 |  Man City
Wolves 0-3 Man City
28 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Monday football as it happened
28 Dec 09 |  Football
Ireland rules out Republic return
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals

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