Manchester City first-team coach David Platt has urged his side to take advantage of Arsenal’s latest slip-up to take third place in the Premier League.City take on Stoke City on Tuesday just 72 hours after they beat the same opponents 1-0 in the FA Cup Final.
But Roberto Mancini’s side now have a real incentive as they look to secure third spot behind Manchester United and Chelsea.
Whoever finishes third will qualify directly for the Champions League group stage, while the team in fourth will need to make it through a qualifying round – which for City could mean a tie against a side such as Bayern Munich or Villarreal.
Third place was in Arsenal’s hands, but they lost 2-1 at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, meaning City will climb above them if they beat both Stoke and Bolton in their final two games.
And former Arsenal midfielder Platt, who is now one of the key men on Roberto Mancini’s coaching staff, said his side could hardly have a greater incentive.
“We’ve got two games to go and can take six points,” Platt said. “If we do that we have done our job.”
“We could actually get third place from Arsenal. We’ve got to continue to win games and continue to win trophies.”
“We’re delighted at this moment and quite rightly so. We should enjoy it but only until around Tuesday morning.”
“We’ve made a big step up as regards the players that have come in, they’ve bedded themselves in, and as the season’s gone on we’ve become more assured as a team.”
City go into the match without any new injury worries, and they are likely to stick with the same starting XI that defeated Stoke at Wembley.