Micah Richards believes Manchester City have "shut a few people up" by reaching the Champions League.
City's phenomenal rise into Europe's elite has attracted plenty of negative coverage, with their fiercest critics particularly annoyed by the huge amounts of money that have been spent on the team.
"It has shut a few people up," said Richards. "We always wanted to answer the critics. We have invested in some quality players who have shown what they can do. Hopefully we can do a bit more shopping in the summer to make us an even better team."
That seems highly likely, although first there may have to be a few sales to keep City within the parameters of UEFA's new financial fair play regulations, which come into force next season.
Chief executive Garry Cook and chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak are the men who must wrestle with that problem.
For Richards, it is all about making the most from such unexpected opportunities.
"I relish every moment," he said.
"When I made my England debut I always thought these things would follow but sometimes you do have to pinch yourself.
"But I believe in my ability and do think I deserve to play at the highest level. I just have to take it in my stride."
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