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Onwards & upwards for Nedum

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Nedum Onouha 0809

Nedum Onuoha is determined to put his disappointment at City's failure to qualify for Europe behind him as he seeks to help the Blues improve their league position next season.

Our defeat at White Hart Lane, coupled with Fulham's win over Newcastle, ensured that the Blues cannot qualify for the inaugural Europa League in 2009/10. However, the Blues' run to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals has given a tantalising glimpse of a different competition to Nedum and a squad that was largely inexperienced in European terms when the season kicked off in the Faroes last July.

"We were very disappointed," declares Nedum.  "With our experiences in the UEFA Cup this season, we wanted to do that again and again. It gave us a taste of what these competitions are like, so this is a massive disappointment given that we had a chance to qualify. It could have just taken another goal or a better decision here or there for it to happen.

"Perhaps if we had not been in the UEFA Cup this season, we may have been in a better position in the League. We would not have worried about seventh, because we could have already qualified. It's just one of those things, you get a taste of it and then it is taken away - but that's football."

So the 22-year-old, who picked up his Thomas Cook Player of the Month award for May on Monday, is now already eyeing 2009/10, which he says must bring an improved showing on the domestic front.

"Next season we will have sole focus on the League, apart from the Carling Cup and the FA Cup," he continues. "We can pay all our attention to finishing as high in the League as possible. I believe, and so do a lot of people in the club, that we do have a team strong enough to do that.

"Some players are more tired than others this season, there have been 55 games this season, and that is without a run in the domestic cup competitions. That's a lot of games, especially given that at times our squad was stretched and some played more than others. Next season we hope to knuckle down and do better."

The England Under-21 international, likely to be on duty for Stuart Pearce this summer and tipped in some quarters for a full call-up, adds that the strong team ethic instilled by Mark Hughes this season will carry over into the next campaign.

"The manager knows what he wants from his team, it is not about 'I', it is about the team. He has had everyone in the team working for each other. It has been easy for people to prosper in their positions and that has been exactly the case for me."

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