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Gutted but glad to be back

22 December 2012

Fit-again Jem reveals the fight in this side

Jem Karacan returned from a knee injury to run his socks off for a side who came within moments of earning a deserved point against the champions in Manchester this afternoon.

"We're gutted," the midfield star admitted after Gareth Barry's injury time winner. "The boys are devastated in there."

"On another day, Tabby gets a penalty and we get a goal to take the lead. We just don't seem to get the decisions when we need them.

"The boys have been unbelievable today, we all worked so hard - and yet we defend for our lives for 90 minutes and they go and get one in injury time even though everyone can see it's a blatant foul.

"You look at the replays and he's all over Shorey. Nine times out of ten it's a foul - but it's not gone for us today.

"That's the Premier League for you - it's tough. Sometimes you don't get those decisions, but it's happened to us a few times now this season.

"Every player gave everything today - we all put our bodies on the line today. It's been drummed into me from a young age to never give up - and that's the mentality that boys here have got. 

"People are writing us off day in, day out, no-one is giving us a chance in hell - but you can't take notice of it. The fans were fantastic today and, as players, we look around our dressing room and we have faith in each other.

"Everyone loves one another in that dressing room and the gaffer's been brilliant for us. We showed today how much quality we've got in the side and how much we want to stay in this league.

"Pavel was brilliant up front on his own, everyone at the back was superb - we were just unlucky today that we didn't get that point, a point which I'm sure everyone thought we deserved in the end."

Karacan battled hard in a five-man midfield for more than an hour, in his first action since suffering a knee injury at Liverpool in October, so despite the defeat and the heartbreak of the nature of it, he was thrilled to be back out on the pitch.

"Being injured is the worst thing about football," he said. "In the last six or seven months I've only played about 10 or 11 games.

"And I live for football. Every day as a little kid I wanted to be a footballer and to have that taken away from you for such a long period of time, it kills you.

"So to be back out there today, playing at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City - it was brilliant for myself.

"I've worked hard to get back to fitness and the gaffer threw me in there today - I've got to thank him for that, giving me the opportunity to go out there and express myself."

"But at the end of the day we didn't get the point. So we have to take every single positive we can out of that game and push on to the Swansea game and try to take something out of that game, which I'm sure we can do."

Swansea City are our visitors on Boxing Day at Madejski Stadium and Jem is sure that our performance against Roberto Mancini's men can spur us on and perhaps kick-start our season.

"In don't think many teams will come here and do as well as we have today. So we can't feel sorry for ourselves, we have to pick ourselves up again and push forward to the next game - and everyone in that changing room is together and will do just that.

"We've got two home games and we have to get some points from them, we're all aware of that. We are looking forward to getting back to our place, with our supporters right behind us and doing whatever we can to get some points on the board.

"Swansea are a good team and then we've got West Ham which won't be easy after that. But we've got to go out there and show everyone what we can do.

"And if we put in just as good a performance as we did today, I think we'll get something out of those games, which is all we want right now.

"It's every single one of our dreams to come to stadiums like this and play football - we want to stay in this league. And I'll do everything I can to make sure we do."

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