We'll be better than Reds, says City hatchet man

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The Independent Football

It is 42 years since Manchester City were last crowned as the English top-flight champions yet, according to their new signing Aleksandar Kolarov, there is little danger of the club getting anywhere near the point of raising their bat to the pavilion for the most undesired of half-centuries.

In fact, as far as the 24-year-old Serbian is concerned, Roberto Man-cini's side will end that terrible statistic sooner rather than later and then set themselves on the path to one day usurping Manchester United as the city's most prominent and successful club.

The scope of the former Lazio fullback's ambition is either comforting or foolish depending entirely on whether the shirt on your back is sky- blue or red.

However, regardless of the intelligence of his comments, there is little denying his solemnity when uttering them. "Of course City is a club that is going places," said Kolarov, who recently signed for a reported £18 million. "I hope that City will become better than United and will become better known than United are now.

"I've only had two days training with the team because before they were in America, but my first impressions are very positive, it is very good and I am very pleased to be here. The squad is very strong and there is a good chance of winning something this year.

"I don't know what but over the next few years we want to win the League and the Champions' League and that is the focus. That is the reason I've come here."

Kolarov joins Yaya Touré, Jérôme Boateng and David Silva as new additions to the playing staff as City continue to flex the financial muscles that grew overnight following the club's acquisition by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi almost two years ago.

Yet Kolarov bristled at the notion he was in Manchester to line his own pockets, preferring to offer the opinion that the only place he wants to see overflowing with riches is the City trophy room, currently home to a little dust and a lot of memories.

"I don't need to answer that criticism," he said. "I had opportunities to go to other clubs but I decided to come here because I could see it is a club that is growing and going places."

One of City's major faults last season was their inability to tough out victories or at least let opposition sides understand that they would not be getting everything their own way.

Forget the frills and gloss about it being "the best league in the world", the Premier League is no different to every other league at every other level on the planet. Sometimes good old-fashioned bruises will be the difference between a win and a loss, and the likes of the City defenders Kolo Touré and Joleon Lescott are simply not designed that way.

United have Kolarov's Serbian team-mate Nemanja Vidic to do the business for them and Kolarov is not scared of emulating his fellow countryman's approach. City, at last, might have a half-decent hatchet man.

"Some people say I don't smile a lot but that's just my face," Kolarov said. "But sometimes on the pitch I can be hard. I don't think there is a lot to laugh about on a pitch but I will give 100 per cent to try and win the fans over.

"There is nothing to smile about on the pitch but I believe that the education I have received in Italy means as a defender I can adapt to other leagues. Of course the Premier League is probably more aggressive but I am ready for the challenge."

It remains to be seen if the Premier League is ready for him.