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Premier League

Owner Sheikh Mansour aware Manchester City are prized scalp


Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour believes the Blues will face stiffer challenges than they might have expected this season because of the way they annihilated Manchester United.

All doubt over City's staying power was erased by that startling 6-1 derby triumph in October, part of a sequence of results which has given them a five-point lead at the Premier League summit.

And, in a rare public statement on the club he has bankrolled to the tune of over £1billion, the wealthy Abu Dhabi-based businessman feels every opponent will try that little bit harder now.

"We must be aware that these kinds of results can be a double-edged sword - it makes the others look at you differently and prepare themselves the best way they can," said Sheikh Mansour.

"But those who want to win championships and trophies have to adapt to that and be ready to face the challenges."

With United surprisingly knocked out of the Carling Cup last night at Old Trafford by Crystal Palace, City have been installed as favourites to add more silverware to the FA Cup they won last year, their first trophy in 35 years.

However, Sheikh Mansour has his eyes on a bigger prize than that.

Not even the gloomier prospect of an exit from the Champions League can shake his gaze from the Premier League.

"We must not forget that our main objective is to win the English Premier League and if we achieve that, then it will have an impact on the team and the club as a whole and will show we can achieve anything," he told the Al Ittihad newspaper.

And for that he shovels most of the credit on to manager Roberto Mancini.

Had it not been for Sheikh Mansour's immense wealth, the plethora of stars at Mancini's disposal would not have signed for City.

Yet the owner feels actually getting the players to City is only part of the job.

"Sometimes I meet a lot of Emirati and Arab brothers in London, and see them criticise the work of Roberto Mancini, but I think that his plans are going on the right path," he said.

"We have to ask ourselves where we have been and what Manchester City have become now. To realise that what we have accomplished is great.

"Hard work is still required but we are all satisfied with what has been achieved, the success and development at this level. However you must have patience."