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De Jong: City players keen as fans to end title drought

Nigel de Jong says Manchester City's players are as keen as the fans to lift a major title after a 35-year gap.

City entertain Championship side Reading tomorrow with a place at Wembley in the semi-finals at stake, and the Holland midfielder believes they could get their hands on the FA Cup this season.

"We have to think about only the game and not the things which surround it," De Jong said. "The fans really want to win a trophy. So do we.

"We know all about the history of this club so we know how long it's been (since a title was won). We are often reminded about it. Everyone knows what's at stake.

"You need that spark to go on. It doesn't matter which -- the league, the FA Cup, the Europa League. It would be something to make the guys hungry for more success.

"We'd love it if it could be this year and, yes, it looks like the quickest way could be the FA Cup."

De Jong believes there will be no fall-out from the Europa League defeat by Dynamo Kiev -- and the long journey home from Ukraine.


The players arrived back in the early hours of yesterday morning after going down 2-0 in the Europa League last-16 first leg game.

It leaves City with a difficult task in the return match next Thursday.

"We can come back after a defeat like this," said De Jong. "We have to keep our heads high, try to keep performing. The Reading game is a chance to lift our confidence for the second leg and the other games ahead.

"I don't think the trip back from Kiev will affect us.

"We've all got experience of how to handle this schedule and make sure we are right and ready for them on Sunday. I am sure I will be okay."

Striker Mario Balotelli could be doubtful for the match after suffering an allergic reaction in Kiev.

Skipper Carlos Tevez is certain to return to the team. However, James Milner is expected to be ruled out with a hamstring injury.