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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 10, 2011

Hart revels in Champions League place

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has challenged his team-mates to follow up their Champions League qualification by beating Stoke in Saturday's FA Cup final.

City beat Tottenham 1-0 at Eastlands to guarantee them a top-four finish, as well as ensuring that Stoke will earn a Europa League place.

Spurs had won this fixture last season courtesy of a Peter Crouch goal, but the England striker was the villain this time around as he put through his own net to hand Roberto Mancini's side a place at European football's top table.

An overjoyed Hart told Sky Sports: "It means the world. We are the players and we are employed to give performances and get results and, regardless of the money spent by the club, we are a team and we have shown that.

"If you watched the Champions League this season, Spurs have done brilliantly and it's a shame for them that they can't be there again as they brought something to it, but trips to Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan - what more can you ask for?

"We now need a trophy and that is this Saturday. We got this tonight and we now need to give these fans a trophy."

Captain Vincent Kompany now wants his side to try to overhaul Arsenal for third place, to ensure they would be able to avoid the qualifying rounds.

He said: "It doesn't mean we are in the Champions League - we would have to qualify - so why not get Arsenal? We feel they may drop points and we think we can get six points."

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp praised the performance of his men, and pledged they will be looking to regain a Champions League spot next term.

"We have had Champions League this year for the first time since the Premier League started but you need to keep improving and we had a bad run at the wrong time," he said. "We had too many draws."

He added: "The biggest problems in this run where we have fallen out of the top four are that we lost Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart has suddenly become a bit jaded due to the World Cup and not having a pre-season.

"When they were in top form, we were killing teams off as well as playing good football. Not too many teams play better than we do. That means a lot to me.

"I enjoy watching us play. I would rather that than us play awful football and keep lumping the ball. I want to enjoy the last few years I have got in football."

On City's prospects now they have finally secured a top-four finish, Redknapp said: "It seems to me they can go as far as they want to go. The sky is the limit.

"They have an owner who can spend anything he wants and they could go out and buy another four or five world-class players in the summer and try to win the Champions League. It won't be beyond them.

"They have good players already but I wouldn't say they were any better than us to be truthful. If Bale hadn't got injured, it would have been very close."

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