Mancini eyes new additions
Having been told by Sheikh Mansour only the top four would do, City achieved their objective with two games to spare thanks to Peter Crouch's own goal at Eastlands on Tuesday night. It could get even better for City as well, with Saturday's FA Cup final with Stoke to look forward to, in addition to hunting down Arsenal for third spot in the Premier League. The latter quest could be crucial for Mancini. It would mean City qualifying automatically for the group phase, rather than facing a potentially hazardous two-legged qualifying tie. But the Italian is already aware of the dangers that lie ahead. He saw it first hand in a Tottenham team that ultimately found it impossible to cope with combining domestic demands with those of Europe's elite and he intends to give a good deal of thought to how to counter the problems. "I don't know how many players I will need at this moment," said Mancini. "When you play in the Champions League and want to try and win the title, you need many players. It is very hard without that. "Tottenham had a problem this year and they had 26 or 27 good players." It means new faces can be anticipated at Eastlands, although the situation is not quite so straightforward as Spurs boss Harry Redknapp suggested when he proclaimed "the sky's the limit" for the Blues ambitions. UEFA's financial fair play regulations, which come into force next season, force every club to balance the books to some extent. City will get additional revenue from the Champions League and the prospect of naming rights on their stadium will generate further income. However, in order to get the players they want the Blues will not be able to carry the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bridge, all big earners currently out on loan, while others still at City but with seemingly no future - Shay Given and Shaun Wright-Phillips fall into that category - would need to be discarded as well. No one wants skipper Carlos Tevez to leave but the chances are he will, which offers Mancini further flexibility, ensuring City are linked with countless star names from now on, including Cesc Fabregas, whose Arsenal future is uncertain, although Barcelona has always been viewed as a more likely destination for the Spain star. To even be talking in such terms is still hard to believe for some of City's long-suffering supporters. And it seems the same is true of their longest-serving players. "It is unbelievable," said Micah Richards. "It doesn't feel real. Every player dreams of playing in the Champions League. To achieve it in such a short space of time, buying players every year, is amazing. "Sometimes you have to pinch yourself." With Tevez's lack of English making a captain's assessment impossible, it has been left to Vincent Kompany to articulate the current state of City affairs. During the absences of both Tevez and Kolo Toure, who was amongst those on the pitch to celebrate last night even though he is currently suspended due to a failed drugs test, Kompany has shown all the credentials required of a captain. And the Belgian perfectly encapsulated the situation City now find themselves in. "It is a milestone for this club," he said. "I don't think people imagine how far we have come. "It takes a lot to catch up with the teams who have been in the top four for a long time but we are there now. We have gone to the next stage. "In some senses, it has been a very symbolic season. "Last year we lost in the semi-final of the League Cup against Manchester United. This year we played them in the semi-final of the FA Cup and beat them. Same with Tottenham and the top four. "It is going forward for us. We can build on it for next season and challenge for the title."