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Johnson: Khaldoon pep talk lifted City

Manchester City midfielder Adam Johnson claims that chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak's words inspired his side to beat Sunderland 5-0 and give themselves a great chance of clinching Champions League football next season.

City had won only two of their last seven league games before the weekend's cruise at Eastlands and Johnson maintains that, rather than manager Roberto Mancini, it was the chairman who lifted the squad.

"The chairman spoke to us in the morning and outlined what it would mean to get into the Champions League," Johnson said. "It's been years since anything like that happened for City and I think that spurred us on for the victory.

"He said he was fully backing us and that everyone was behind us to get that -Champions League place. He also said how important it was to win a trophy because we hadn't won one for over 30 years. It was a really motivational message for us all to push on.

"We haven't had a major blip this season, just a couple of bad results, and it was good to win so well against Sunderland. There are seven games left in the league and we've just got to keep winning."

With a massive week in store as they face Liverpool in the league and Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals, Johnson is adamant that the side must keep their focus in the midst of all the derby hype.

"We must not take our eye off the league situation, even though we have a semi-final coming up against our biggest rivals,'' he said. "It will be a massive game and an unbelievable occasion for everyone. There's nothing better than playing at Wembley. I've played there for England a few times and each occasion is huge for a player."

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