Mancini: City deserve CL place

Roberto Mancini feels Manchester City deserve a Champions League berth for their efforts this season – but will not take anything for granted.

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.