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Upstarts City seek Champions League ticket

Premier Soccer League
Leg 1
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By ESPN Staff

Pearce plays down Eastland's crisis talk

Stuart Pearce insists there is no crisis at Manchester City.

The Blues' hopes of landing a UEFA Cup spot next season have almost evaporated following a run of four successive Barclays Premiership defeats.

For the first time since succeeding Kevin Keegan over a year ago, Pearce lost his rag with his players following last week's home defeat to Middlesbrough.

After labelling the performance against Boro 'disgusting', Pearce warned any repeat would lead to summer departures.

It is not the ideal position from which to approach tomorrow's encounter with Champions League-chasing Tottenham. Yet Pearce believes there is no need to over-dramatise the situation, even though he accepts there are people within the club who are concerned too.

'I can tell by people's demeanour within the club and outside it they feel there is a crisis going on,' he said.

'There is no crisis. I have been in management for a year and that is the first time I have blown my top.

'We have more ability in this squad than our league position at the moment suggests.

'We are lacking a bit of confidence at the moment but it is my job to get it back.'

City's hopes of ending their current losing streak at Tottenham on Saturday should be aided by the return of influential midfielder Claudio Reyna, who has now recovered from a shoulder injury.

Skipper Sylvain Distin is also available for the White Hart Lane trip after serving a one-match suspension for his recent dismissal at Chelsea.

Although any chance of a top-six spot has disappeared, at £500,000 a place, Pearce knows his summer spending plans could depend on his side scrambling back into the top half of the table.

The former England skipper estimates he needs another four or five players to bring his squad depth up to the level required to compete in the Premiership and it took only the briefest of chats with chairman John Wardle to confirm every penny will be required.

'From what I gather from the chairman there are not a great deal of funds available,' said Pearce.

'He has always said that, so we have to come to some sort of compromise and either be cute in the market or work out some way to bring one or two fresh faces in that are going to improve us.'