| 5°C Belfast

Manchester City targeting a top three bonus

First-team coach David Platt wants Manchester City to build on their achievement of lifting the FA Cup, starting tonight at Eastlands.

City will face Stoke in their re-arranged Barclays Premier League encounter just over 72 hours after they beat their rivals 1-0 in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Victory for City would see them overtake Arsenal and move into third place — a scenario that, should City hold on to the position, would rule out pre-qualifying for the Champions League.

The Gunners are suddenly looking over their shoulder after they suffered a home defeat to Aston Villa and Platt said: “We've got two games to go and can take six points. If we do that we have done our job.

“We could actually get third place from Arsenal. We've got to continue to win games and continue to win trophies. We’re delighted at this moment and quite rightly so. We should enjoy it but only until around Tuesday morning.

“We’ve made a big step up as regards the players that have come in, they've bedded themselves in, and as the season's gone on we’ve become more assured as a team.”

One of the new recruits Mario Balotelli was an influential figure at Wembley.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

The former Inter Milan striker has attracted his share of controversy in his first season in England, wracking up yellow and red cards as well as goals.

Platt insists it it a pleasure to work with the Italian rookie.

He said: “You’ve got to give the credit to Robbie (Mancini), though. Robbie believes in him.

“For anybody to leave a country and come to play in a different style of football, it’s very difficult to hit the ground running especially when you are only 20.

“He also had injuries as well at the start of the season. There’s no doubt about it, he does things sometimes that bring him into the forefront of the newspapers and the media that he could perhaps negate a little bit.

“But I think in terms of him as a person, he’s very easy to manage. He’s a great boy.

“You've just got to do it on a constant basis. His performances, when he's at it, are second to none.”

City's progress under Mancini has come as no surprise to Platt, who knew him as a player in Italy.

Platt said: “I have known the man for 20 years. What people read, what people write, what people say is irrelevant to him.

“The man wants to win football matches. There’s still the potential to finish third and we've won the FA Cup. He's a winner.”

Mancini could be tempted to freshen up his side against Stoke, who are aiming to finish in the top half of the table.

Edin Dzeko, James Milner and Adam Johnson are all pushing for starting places.

Top Videos