Manchester City Will Win the Champions League Next Season

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Manchester City Will Win the Champions League Next Season
Clint Hughes/Getty Images
4 new faces for 2010.

There are many who will claim that I am seeing the world through sky-blue tinted spectacles, and they may have a point. But being a Manchester City fan has never offered so much promise.

Some will say that I am over-egging the City pudding with such a rash and emotional statement like, "City WILL win the Champions League next season." But I can explain it logically as well.

If last season proved anything to me, it proved that a football owner should never open his cheque book unless he has full faith in his manager. That was not the case with Mark Hughes, but it is the case with Roberto Mancini.

The foundations of a good squad were admittedly put in place by Hughes. However the leap in quality that was needed for Champions League success was never going to happen under him.

That changed when Mancini took centre stage.

The squad of 25 now in place for City is perhaps the strongest squad in the Premier League, and with that comes a confidence to play football against any opposition.

Mancini has also instilled a work ethic that means every player selected knows that he will be dropped if his work rate is not high enough.

There is also a real hunger for success in the squad now, which in truth seemed found more words than action with players like Elano, Robinho, Benjani, or Petrov.

So the work rate will be better, the confidence will be supremely high, and of course the players are certainly good enough.

But does the manager have the nous to make the best of the players at his disposal?

The evidence is to be found in the England team where Adam Johnson, James Milner, Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry, and Shaun Wright-Phillips all played a part, but with the ability for any of them (with the obvious exception of Hart) able to play more than one role in a number of formations.

Each and every player bought by or coached by Mancini can now do more than one job in the team and Mancini is also willing and able to mix things up in unusual ways.

When City played against Liverpool it was with Yaya Toure as the forward line in the midfield. That was very much unexpected as every man and his dog had Toure pegged solely a defensive midfield player. But Mancini knew better and played a blinder in the way he set up the team.

It seems to me that City are set to get into the Champions League for next season, and of course once that happens the "world's richest" club will make even bigger waves in the transfer market. They will need to if they are to live up to my prediction of winning the Champions League next season.

They will need to buy two or three world class stars to win the psychological battle even before a ball is kicked. Knowing City and Mancini it could well be with Maicon, Alves, Dzeco, and Torres in place.

So I can certainly see Manchester City winning the Champions League next season.

I just won't put any money on it quite yet.

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