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As their Wembley semi-final looms large and their league form continues to falter, we wonder whether the blue half of Manchester would prefer a top-four finish or some silverware

With the business end of the season upon us, Manchester City face a crunch showdown with city rivals Manchester United in the semi-final of the FA Cup at Wembley this weekend.

No player in light blue has held a major trophy aloft in 35 years and City fans can only hope this will be their year.

But Roberto Mancini's side are also locked in a fight to seal Champions League qualification in the league.

After a promising start where they were in the title hunt, their form has dipped and now they are fighting to stay in the top four after Monday's 3-0 demolition by Liverpool.

Ahead of Saturday's crunch meeting at Wembley between the Manchester rivals, Goal.com UK  called on various Eastlands experts to offer their opinion on whether City would take beating Sir Alex Ferguson's side and winning the FA Cup over Champions League qualification.

Kevin Parker - General Secretary of the Man City Supporters Club


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It is clear the owners see the top four as the first challenge we need to achieve."
It's a really tough question to answer.

Having waited 35 years for a trophy we are desperate to get some silverware but the reality is that playing in the Champions League is more important.
 
Whilst the club has been successful in bringing players into Eastlands we desperately need Champions League football to move on to the next level.

I'm sure that some of the players we've signed in the past few seasons have been tempted by what we might achieve in Europe and failure to do that may lead to some of them looking at other options.
 
Also, it is clear the owners see the top four as the first challenge we need to achieve.

Mark Hughes lost his job as the club thought he would not achieve that goal and Roberto Mancini knows the first target is to finish in the top four and gain Champions League football.
 
Of course, winning the FA Cup and beating Manchester United on the way along with a top four finish would be the perfect answer.

Mark Ogden - Daily Telegraph Northern Football Correspondent


"The symbolism of beating United on the way to that first trophy is huge for City."
Ask Roberto Mancini whether he would rather guide Manchester City to the FA Cup final or Champions League qualification and, while the City manager will say ‘both,’ it would not take too much pushing for him to admit that a top-four finish is the only priority.

The Italian is probably in a minority of two – alongside City owner Sheikh Mansour – when it comes to what matters most to the club’s supporters this season, though.

Every City fan wants to see their team jostling with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich in Europe’s premier competition next season, but beating Manchester United in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final en route to a victory in the final next month is all that matters.

City fans have quite rightly had enough of the jibes from the red half of Manchester about their 35-year trophy drought.

But for most, the wait will be worth every minute if they can take a giant stride to their first trophy since the 1976 League Cup by defeating United and ending their Treble hopes at the same time.

The symbolism of beating United on the way to that first trophy is huge for City.

It would end the constant belittling from United supporters and also lay the foundation for a new era.

Qualification for the Champions League will happen sooner or later, as will a trophy, but silverware is more important than earning a glamorous European fixture list next season and every City fan travelling to Wembley on Saturday would put cup glory ahead of finishing fourth.

Ric Turner - Editor of Bluemoon



"
Finishing in the top four is ultimately more important than winning the FA Cup."
Finishing in the top four is ultimately more important than winning the FA Cup.

If we could maintain our current league position until the end of the season it would mean we will be able to compete in the best club competition in Europe.
 
The additional revenue streams the Champions League brings, plus the prestige and ability to attract a higher calibre of player, are vital for City with Uefa's financial fair play rules lurking ominously around the corner.
 
An FA Cup win would be a great day, and something everyone at the club will remember forever, but Champions League qualification is more important in the grand scheme of things at Eastlands.

Steven
Allweis - Editor of View From A Blue


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Without Champions League football and the riches it brings, we would surely fail to match the Financial Fair Play rules."
As highly charged and emotive as an FA Cup semi-final against your rivals will undoubtedly be, qualification for the Champions League is imperative. Even at the expense of losing on Saturday.

Fans can easily get caught up in the emotion of a derby, where rational thought is obscured by the obsession to defeat your rivals, but without doubt, for the future of City, finishing in the top four is a necessity.

It is a necessity for the players who surely want to test themselves against the best, as opposed to the likes of FC Timisoara. It is a necessity for Roberto Mancini if he wants to retain his job, but more significantly, it is a necessity for the club.

Without Champions League football and the riches it brings, we would surely fail to match the Financial Fair Play rules, stringent as they are, and without such a level of football on offer, we would be unable to attract the calibre of player needed to break through.

So as much as I would dearly love to beat United and to win the FA Cup, the future of Manchester City is far more important. Anyway, we have waited 35 years, one more year will not hurt.

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