Mancini wants City to focus on top four fight

BLACKBURN, United Kingdom, April 24, 2011 (AFP) - Roberto Mancini has ordered his Manchester City players to forget next month's FA Cup final and concentrate on securing a Champions League spot.

City moved to within 90 minutes of winning their first major silverware for 35 years after Yaya Toure's goal sank Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.

Mancini's men face Stoke in the showpiece final on May 14.

But before then City have four crucial Premier League games against Blackburn on Monday, then West Ham, Everton and Tottenham, which will go a long way to deciding whether they clinch a top-four finish.

Holding off Tottenham's challenge for the fourth and final Champions League place is as vital to Mancini as winning the FA Cup because the club's wealthy owners made that the number one target before the season.

And the Italian has made it perfectly clear that he expects his players to fully focus on the Premier League and not allow their minds to drift towards Wembley.

"I think if we win three or four of our remaining six games we have a good chance and don't have to depend on other teams," Mancini said. "If we have the right focus and concentration we will do it.

"It is impossible to think about the FA Cup final now, because we have four very important games before then and it is important to think about them.

"What is important now is to focus on the next four games in the Premier League, and after that think of the final. The win over United is the past.

"Our next two games are against Blackburn and West Ham, two teams who are fighting against relegation and that makes these games very, very dangerous.

"If we think we can go to Blackburn and play at 50 per cent, we might as well stay at home.

"But if we keep the same concentration and focus and realise we can only win if we play at 200 per cent, that will be better."

City are without their main goal threat Carlos Tevez as he recovers from a hamstring problem, while defenders Micah Richards and Jerome Boateng are also nursing injuries.

Blackburn need the points as much as City after an alarming slump in form left them in a relegation fight.

They are without a win in nine league games, but Rovers manager Steve Kean is confident his side can finish the season with a flourish and win over the supporters who continue to question his surprise appointment.

"I do understand the concerns but we are talking about very fine margins," said Kean, who has managed just three league wins in 16 attempts since replacing Sam Allardyce in December.

"I understand the frustrations of the fans, we are frustrated ourselves because we feel as though we have been good enough in a number of those games to just edge it.

"For whatever reason we have drawn or lost. What I would like to say is we are sharing the frustration.

"We are frustrated as well because we would have liked to have beaten Blackpool and Birmingham.

"Hopefully the fans stick with us because we'd like to create an atmosphere in the next two games that's a little bit like we had against Liverpool. The place was bouncing that night, magnificent.

"But it's our job to make sure they see that from us as a team. We don't sit back and dictate, we go and get after a team, show we mean business."

Blackburn hope to welcome back Junior Hoilett after a hamstring strain, but midfielder Keith Andrews is still injured while striker Roque Santa Cruz, who is on loan from City, is ineligible.

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