x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Mancini already planning City reinforcements

The Manchester manager plots assaults on title and Europe while Stoke will give Huth and Etherington every chance to prove fitness for Saturday's game

Roberto Mancini will try to bring Manchester City's players back down to earth and focus their attentions on the second of his pre-season goals - winning a trophy - after they secured Champions League football for next season.

Tuesday night's victory over Tottenham Hotspur saw City confirm at least fourth spot with two games to go. City's players are still taking in their achievement, given that just five seasons ago they were involved in a relegation struggle at this stage of the season.

"It is unbelievable," said Micah Richards, the City right-back. "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."

City now take on Stoke City in the FA Cup final on Saturday when they can reach another target - a first trophy for 36 years.

Vincent Kompany, City's Belgian centre-back, believes Champions League qualification will provide City with even more impetus.

"It is a milestone for this club," said, the defender. "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.

"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.

"We can build on it for next season and challenge for the title."

Mancini, the City manager, highlighted the plight of Tuesday's opponents - Tottenham - to demonstrate that he will now look to add to his squad to cope with the demands of the Champions League.

"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," said Mancini. "I don't know how many players I will need at this moment. Tottenham had a problem this year and they had 26 or 27 good players."

Tony Pulis, his opposite number on Saturday, can become the first Welsh manager to lift the FA Cup.

He will leave it until the last minute before deciding whether to name injured duo Robert Huth and Matthew Etherington in his line-up for the FA Cup final.

Centre-back Huth suffered a knee injury in the 3-1 victory against Arsenal on Sunday.

Etherington, the winger, has also been struggling to recover from a torn hamstring. Huth has returned to the training ground and is having sugar injections in a bid to speed up his recovery.

"We will give them right up until the game. We are desperate for them to play but it is just whether it is right for the team," said Pulis. "My most difficult selection decision? Yes."

With City securing a top-four finish, Stoke are guaranteed a spot in the Europa League next season. Pulis said: "You would not have dreamed of it a few years ago - Stoke in an FA Cup final, perhaps finishing in the top 10 of the Premier League and being in Europe. It is a bit special."

City's big injury doubt is Carlos Tevez, who has been out for a month with a hamstring injury.

Mancini hinted the Argentine is likely to start on the bench. "I don't think he can be 100 per cent ready ... But we have four days, then we need to decide," he said.

* Press Association