Mancini: Champions League not a priority for Manchester City

The manager maintains that the champions must retain motivation and need new players to keep fresh, while insisting that rivals United are favourites to win this year's title
Roberto Mancini has stated that the Champions League is not a priority for Manchester City this season, and that his side needed to remain focused on retaining the Premier League title.

His side defeated European champions Chelsea 3-2 on Sunday at Villa Park in the season-opening Community Shield, but he refused to entertain the thought of taking the crown to the Etihad Stadium, and also stated that his team must work harder this year because their rivals United are favourites to win the domestic title.

"Our target can't be the Champions League," he told reporters.

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"Our target is to fight for the title and to go through to the second stage in Europe. And after that we will see what can happen in February.

"But our target should only be the Premier League and the FA Cup.

"Anyway, after Chelsea it's difficult for two English teams to win the Champions League two years in a row.

"We hope that we can do better [than last year] but [a bad start] can happen.

"When one young team wins the championship after many years, the next season can sometimes start very badly.

"And for this reason we need to get new players into our side. We need the squad to stay hungry.

"We won the last championship but that's now in the past. We need to forget everything because now that is not important.

"I think we need to work more than last season if we want to win the title this season.

"Not only because we won the championship but because United will be favourites."

Although yesterday saw midfielder Jack Rodwell sign from Everton, Mancini had earlier this week spoken of his frustration at the club’s inability to complete a move for Arsenal striker Robin van Persie.

On this occasion, however, he spoke more positively about the club's prospects this season, concluding: "We are confident because after the [2011] FA Cup triumph and the championship our confidence is very high.

"I'm confident with my players and with the chairman. I'm sure we will do a good job this season.

"I think our fans will be happy because they won the league and they can be sure that we will put all our strengths in every game.

"The fans can be happy because they have an owner in Sheikh Mansour and great chairman Khaldoon. For these two things they should be happy."