De Jong hails super City fans
- 09 November 2010 11:18
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Nigel de Jong is backing City fans to help give the team a derby edge tomorrow night at the City of Manchester Stadium.
The Holland midfielder, who has become a cult figure since arriving from Hamburg, considers himself a true Blue and made a point of saluting the away end after Sunday's bracing 2-0 win at West Brom.
The travelling Blue Army warmed up for the derby with their defiant "34 years, and we're still here" chant at The Hawthorns, and De Jong said: "Our fans are brilliant, they just keep on supporting us.
They have always been such a helping hand as a 12th man, especially at derbies.
"I've played in a couple now and there's always massive support for the team.
"You can see and hear at every away game that they are at full strength, so the message is: just keep that going! The confidence is there in the squad that we can pay them back on the pitch.
"Derbies are always huge games. It's an important season for Manchester City but also for Manchester United. Everybody knows what went on between the teams last season. This season it's going to be even bigger!
"They get bigger and bigger, especially if you see the hype that goes back and forth in the media. But it's a good thing for City, it means we get bigger as a club, and everybody is up for it. We can't wait.
"I love playing against anybody. There's no particular player I want to play against - or don't want to play against. I protect the back four - whether that's against West Bromwich or Manchester United doesn't matter."
Mario Balotelli sits out his first derby after City's two-goal hero was sent off at West Brom, a match that saw De Jong in quiet conversation with the young Italian on more than one occasion.
Nigel said: "I'm one of the experienced guys now, after two years! Mario is young and he's got a personality. He has to learn to stay focused. Whether it's me, Carlos or Vinny, we tell him to stop talking and concentrate on his game.
"It's not easy, coming into the Premier League at 20 years old. It's a different game and he's got to get used to it. But he will learn from what's happened."