Mancini: City deserve CL place

City kept themselves firmly on course to win the race for fourth

place in the Premier League with Sunday’s 2-1 victory over West Ham

at Eastlands, a result which means that with four fixtures to go,

Mancini’s side are seven points clear of nearest rivals Liverpool –

who have played a game more – in fifth and Tottenham in sixth. The

Blues’ Holy Grail is within touching distance, but their manager is

adamant his players must keep working hard all the way up to the

end of the campaign. “We can only relax after May 22, not before,”

Mancini said. “We should try to get the maximum number of points

that we can. “I think after what we have done, we deserve to be in

the Champions League, but we have another four games – it is not

finished. “We are not under pressure, but we know we have a big

chance. “Our target at the start of the season was the Champions

League and now, we are in a good way. “We are in fourth position

and have seven points over Tottenham and Liverpool – and we will

play the FA Cup final (against Stoke on May 14).” City took the

lead against the Hammers through Nigel de Jong in the 10th minute

and appeared to be cruising to victory when Pablo Zabaleta doubled

their advantage on the quarter-hour mark with a shot that went in

via Lars Jacobsen. Demba Ba pulled a goal back for the visitors in

the 33rd minute, though, and City then missed a series of chances

to make it 3-1. It eventually turned out that their early double

was enough, but it could and maybe should have been a more

comfortable triumph against the league’s bottom side and Mancini

admitted his team may have been guilty of thinking their job was

already done after the opening 15 minutes. “Probably after these

two goals we thought it was finished, but it never is until the

referee blows the final whistle,” said Mancini, who also confirmed

that De Jong had come off at half-time merely as a precaution with

a view to next weekend’s clash with Everton, and that an ankle

knock picked up by Zabaleta was not serious.