SHAY GIVEN says Manchester City are desperate to bring Champions League football to Eastlands for the first time so they can attract even more of the world's best players, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.
City are certain to have another trophy-less season this term due to their FA Cup exit and, like all City players, Given is reminded by their near neighbours just how long it has been since the club won a trophy. Given is, of course, also still waiting for his first medal in senior football.
The Donegal man has already played in the Champions League (with Newcastle) but he insists that qualification is a must for Roberto Mancini's big-spending side.
"We had a great result against Chelsea last week and we need to go on and finish in the Champions League spot," Given said.
"We're not favourites for the Champions League spot; I don't think anyone stands out, really. There are so many twists and turns to come, you have three or four teams fighting for that fourth spot and we are focused on doing what we have to do to get that place.
"If we do qualify it would be great for the club; players will really want to come to the club and it will make it easier to attract the top players as the best all want to play in the Champions League.
"Life has changed a lot for me since moving to City. I want to keep going and move forward. I want to achieve success and I am delighted to be part of a big club.
"We have won nothing and achieved nothing yet, but if top players want to join us and help the club win the first trophy in 30-odd years, hopefully we can attract those players," added Given.
There have been rumblings around Manchester about the long-term future of Mancini as manager, who has found himself under pressure from the club's owners due to some indifferent results before the Chelsea win.
"We're all under pressure, players and managers alike. We're at a big club and we have to stand up to that -- that goes for the manager and the players, we are all under the same pressure," said Given, who was glad to welcome Carlos Tevez back to the side last weekend, though Given has cause to regret a reunion with Robinho in Tuesday's international.
"We missed Carlos Tevez when he was away but sometimes family life takes over from what happens on the pitch. We're delighted he's back and he showed against Chelsea what a good player he is, not just his goal but his workrate for the team, it's phenomenal," said Given. "Robinho looked sharp on Tuesday night and the games he's played in Brazil (with Santos) have helped sharpen him up.
"I spoke to him and Elano briefly. Robinho was out for a good bit this season with injury. In fairness to him, he's gone off to Brazil and he looks a lot sharper and fitter, and I think it will only benefit Manchester City. He is playing regularly now; he could have a great World Cup and come back to City after the summer stronger and a better player."