Roberto Mancini is not convinced Manchester City's surprise defeat at Everton will not have a major effect on their Champions League qualification hopes - but it has cost him a chance to rest players ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final.

With a six-point advantage and just three games remaining, it is hard to see out-of-form Tottenham clawing back the deficit even if they manage to win their Premier League tussle with City at Eastlands.

A home win will end all debate on the matter though, which is why Mancini wants to get the job done.

The Italian's worry is that his key men may end up tired, which will hamper preparations for the Blues' first final appearance in 30 years.

"I don't think we have a problem for fourth spot," he said.

"We still have three games left and we only need three points.

"But it was important we beat Everton because we have to prepare well for the final.

"Now I shall play with all the team against Tottenham because we want to win.

"That is not perfect for the final."


 

It looks increasingly likely skipper Carlos Tevez will play some part, which would pave the way for the South American to lead City into battle at Wembley.

Gareth Barry and Adam Johnson are also hoping to be involved after missing out at Goodison Park.

Harry Redknapp reckons it would take a "miracle" for Tottenham to qualify for next year's Champions League after admitting that Gareth Bale will play no part in the club's tricky run-in.

Bale's pace and penetration will be hugely missed by the Londoners, who need to win all three of their remaining games against City, Liverpool, and Birmingham to have any chance of bringing Champions League football to White Hart Lane for a second successive season.

Spurs travel knowing that only a win will keep them in the hunt for a top-four finish.

Tottenham's current plight is completely different from the turn of the year when they seemed certain to pip their big-spending rivals to fourth position.

With City facing Stoke and Bolton after Saturday's FA Cup final, Redknapp admits the dream of playing among Europe's elite is all but over.

"It will take a miracle (to finish fourth)," Redknapp said. "(City manager) Roberto Mancini has got a fantastic squad. They're in a great position. They are six points ahead of us and they have a better goal difference by miles."

Injuries to key players like Bale and Tom Huddlestone, and Rafael van der Vaart's loss of form have all contributed to the club's recent slump, according to Redknapp.

"When we've needed that little bit of magic in the last month or six weeks, Gareth has been injured and we've lost that little spark that turns draws into wins," the Spurs boss added.

"Gareth and Rafa were so good, they were the difference between drawing and losing. They were turning games with fantastic individual performances as well as the team playing well."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
#Tottenham Hotspur
#Manchester City
#Premier League
Flag article