JOLEON LESCOTT has admitted he was hurt at being axed for Manchester City’s big night in the Bernabeu.
By MARTIN BLACKBURN
But the England defender has vowed to win back Roberto Mancini’s confidence and earn a new deal with the champions.
Lescott was left out at Real Madrid last Tuesday and at Liverpool last month, which raised questions about his future.
But he marked his return against Arsenal with the opener in Sunday’s 1-1 draw.
Lescott, 30, is set to feature now prominently in Roy Hodgson’s plans following the international retirement of John Terry.
And he has vowed to see off Matija Nastastic and Kolo Toure to return to first choice for City.
Looking back on the night in the Spanish capital, he said: “Obviously it hurt but the manager picked the team and I wasn’t in it.
“It’s a great stadium, a great occasion for the club and you want to pit yourself against the world’s best, like Cristiano Ronaldo.
“But I just have to work hard. It’s happened before over the last couple of seasons.
“I’ve played, been left out. It’s happened before during my career and I’m ready for the fight.”
Lescott knows it is vital he has a good season as he has less than two years left on his deal at the Etihad.
There has been no talks yet over a new one but he hopes to let his performances do the talking.
He said: “I’ve got this season and one more. I’d love to extend it and finish my career here.
“Going knocking on doors isn’t my style. I don’t think my mum would be happy if I did that. I just continue to be professional.
“I know where I’ve come from. A few years ago I was playing away at Plymouth on Tuesday nights. Now Tuesday evenings mean Champions League.
“I’m grateful for what I have now. So I won’t rock the boat.”
Lescott’s start to the season has mirrored City’s with the champions struggling to reach the heights of last term.
But the centre-back insists there is not much wrong and is sure they will click into gear. He said: “Last year we set the league alight, keeping clean sheets, scoring three or four goals.
“But it can’t be like that every week. We know teams are going to make it difficult for us.”
Mancini will make wholesale changes for tonight’s Capital One Cup home tie against Aston Villa.
But Lescott reckons City should target the competition, having won all the other domestic trophies in the last two seasons.
He said: “Maybe we should go all guns blazing. We’d definitely like to win it.”