DWIGHT McNeil highlighted the work he is putting in to improve the defensive side of his game.

The teenager had to help out left-back Charlie Taylor in the narrow 1-0 loss to Manchester City to combat the threat of Leroy Sane and then Raheem Sterling.

"It [kilometres covered] is normally around the same mark but in the last couple of games it's been higher, which you'd expect," said McNeil.

"We're spending more time without possession that we are in possession of the ball.

"You've got to grind it out mentally, that's the main thing, and then physically you've got to stay in tune with the game. You can't switch off, especially against teams like City.

"You've got to track back and do the other side. It is difficult but you've got to do it, especially in this team. You've got to work hard for the team.

"Compared to what it was at the start of the season my fitness has improved. I'll keep looking to improve and work on the defensive side to my game.

"I feel I'm maturing within myself. I've still got a lot of work to do but I'll get there slowly. I'm taking those steps forward at the minute.

"I always speak to the wide players about it, especially the likes of Jeff [Hendrick]. He knows the role, he's done it for a while and he's normally in midfield so he's used top going up and down. It's good to take advice from the other lads.

"It's good to have people challenging you within the group because it keeps you going. It keeps you ticking over to try and keep your place in the team. I've just got to focus on my football, that's all I really want to do."