Roberto Mancini declared that his City players deserved to be in the Champions League - and dedicated the all-important fourth place finish to Blues fans.
It hardly mattered that the crucial 1-0 victory over rivals Tottenham came courtesy of an own goal by striker Peter Crouch, whose goal a year ago denied the Blues fourth spot.
City's boss said: "I am happy because this was our target, and I offer my congratulations to all the players because they did a fantastic job.
"I think we deserve to be in the Champions League because for the whole season we were up there at the top or in fourth position.
"I am very proud because tonight City supporters are very happy. The players did it for the supporters and all the people who work at the club. After many years, Manchester City can play in the Champions League.
"I think in two or three years Manchester City can become one of the top teams in Europe. We got this because the players wanted to play in the Champions League and deserved to play in the Champions League."
Mancini sent on Carlos Tevez for the final minutes of the game but the skipper's brief comeback after injury has not guaranteed him a start against Stoke in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
The Blues manager said: "It was difficult to give him 30 minutes tonight. We suffered for 25 minutes as Tottenham tried to score. They are a strong team like us, it wasn't easy to beat them.
We have four days left and I want to take all that time to decide
"I don't think Carlos can be ready 100 per cent because he played 15 minutes and did only one week's training with the team."
He added: "The Final is another story. It will not be easy to prepare for the Final. We used up a lot of energy against Tottenham.
"Saturday will be a very, very hard game. Stoke are a difficult team and it is important that we recover very well in the next two days.
"If we think it will be an easy game, that will be a big mistake. If we concentrate, maybe we can win."