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Nigel plans for bright future

Nigel de Jong

Nigel de Jong

Nigel de Jong has revealed the feelgood factor that is fuelling new Blues manager Roberto Mancini's exciting pursuit of a Champions League place next season.

City go to Everton sitting in the all-important fourth place in the table, having won four successive matches under Mancini - including an FA Cup tie - and conceding just one goal.

De Jong, who has been the midfield linchpin, said: "Comparing last season with this, there are a lot of new names and a switch of managers - if you look at the league table now, we're fourth.

"We're trying to make a difference to the future. Everybody is excited with the good performances and we just want to stay on track.

"The title? It's a possibility. Nothing is impossible. You've got to go for it but be realistic as well. It's season No.1 for us after the big spending, so we have to take it step by step.

"The most important thing for us is a Champions League place and to try to keep competing for that place. We'll see in March or April where we stand with that.

"We've a big squad. It's not only the first 11, it's 22 players - guys who were written off a couple of months ago are performing well, players are coming back from injury, so we're getting stronger.

"The manager is trying to keep everybody happy. It's not always possible, of course. But everybody is on their toes because you know if you don't perform, you're on the bench. If you see the likes of  Benjani and Garrido perform, you realise why everybody is on their toes."

Nigel is also quick to praise striker Carlos Tevez, who has 11 goals in his last nine games. He said: "Carlos is on fire at the moment - I hope it will continue for the rest of the season!

"He had a hat-trick against Blackburn but he's unbelievable in every game. He makes players around him better as well. Benjani came back from nothing, scored last week at Middlesbrough and gave a good performance against Blackburn as well.

"Look at the impact he's had in the last few weeks - he's not Player of the Month for December without good reason. At the moment he's maybe the best striker in the Premier League."

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