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United neighbor ready to make some big noise

08-08-2011 10:54 BJT

LONDON - Sir Alex Ferguson may have famously dismissed Manchester City as "noisy neighbor" but the veteran United manager may well find himself reaching for a pair of earplugs by the end of this season.

After ending its 36-year wait for a trophy last season with victory in the FA Cup, Manchester City and Roberto Mancini are aiming their sights higher as they prepare for an assault on the Premier League and Champions League.

With seemingly limitless transfer funds at his disposal, Mancini has strengthened an already powerful squad with the close-season signings of Sergio Aguero, Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic, and more could follow.

Even allowing for the likely departure of Carlos Tevez, and recent grumblings from wayward striker Mario Balotelli, City appears well-placed to fulfil Mancini's stated desire of improving on last season's trophy haul.

"Last year I said we needed to win a trophy and qualify for the Champions League and we achieved that," Mancini said. "But this year my aim is to win two trophies."

Since assuming control at Eastlands in late 2009, Mancini has slowly taken ownership of his squad, purging several players signed by his predecessor Mark Hughes, such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Robinho.

The upshot is that City's first team now appears to possess a greater unity of purpose than at any time since the club was bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008.

One of Mancini's most astute buys, the Cote d'Ivoire midfielder Yaya Toure, believes the City dressingroom has been brought closer together following last term's successful FA Cup campaign, which included a memorable defeat of United in the semifinals.

"I think our team bond developed throughout the season and we were strong at the end," said Toure, who scored the winning goals in the semifinal and final.

"Both of those victories were down to us being a strong team," the former Barcelona midfielder said.

Toure however believes City will have to raise its standards if it is to challenge for the Premier League while making its Champions League debut.

"The new season will be very, very hard and we need to improve because this season the club will play in the Champions League," he said. "We expect to stay in the top four of the Premier League and we expect to win the Premier League because now we are coming with more confidence, the players know each other better. I think this year will be fantastic for us."


Editor:Yang Jie |Source:

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