De Jong targets FA Cup success

BY foxsports • March 12, 2011

Nigel de Jong says the Manchester City players are just as keen as the supporters to lift a major trophy after a 35-year gap.

City entertain Championship side Reading on Sunday with a place at Wembley in the semi-finals at stake.

"We have to think about only the game and not the things which surround it," De Jong said.

"The fans obviously really want to win a trophy. So do we.

"We know all about the history of this club so we know how long it's been (since a cup was secured). We are often reminded about it. Everyone knows what's at stake.

"You need that spark to go on. For us, that spark could be any cup.

"It doesn't matter which - the league, the FA Cup, the Europa League. It would be something to make the guys hungry for more success.

"We'd love it if it could be this year and, yes, it looks like the quickest way could be the FA Cup."

De Jong believes there will be no fall-out from the Europa League defeat by Dynamo Kiev - and the long journey home from Ukraine.

The players arrived back in the early hours of yesterday morning after going down 2-0 in the Europa League last-16 first leg game.

It leaves City with a difficult task in the return match next Thursday at Eastlands.

De Jong is convinced there will be no fall-out and said: "We can come back after a defeat like this. We have to keep our heads high, try to keep performing.

"The Reading game is a chance to lift our confidence for the second leg and the other games ahead.

"I don't think the trip back from Kiev will affect us. We're not little kids any more.

"We've all got experience of how to handle this schedule and make sure we are right and ready for them on Sunday. I am sure I will be okay."

Striker Mario Balotelli could be doubtful for the match after suffering an allergic reaction in Kiev.

He was replaced in the second half by skipper Carlos Tevez, who is almost certain to return to the team. However James Milner is expected to be ruled out with a hamstring injury.