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Manchester City won't ease off, insists coach David Platt

Updated: Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 16:16 | Comments

Manchester City only have the FA Cup to chase now
Manchester City only have the FA Cup to chase now

Manchester City have no intention of coasting towards the FA Cup final, first-team coach David Platt has promised.

City are all but out of contention to win the Barclays Premier League but have a firm grip on second place and could be tempted to ease up before facing Wigan at Wembley next month.

But aside from the fact the runners-up spot is not guaranteed, City feel they have standards to maintain and having finally hit top form, they do not want to let up.

City are back in Premier League action three days after their energy-sapping cup semi-final win over Chelsea as they host relegation-threatened Wigan in a final dress rehearsal at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow.

Platt said: "Rather than dramatising the situation, it is about finishing the season as strongly as we can do.

"You would probably put money on us finishing second now and hopefully we will win the FA Cup.

"But we still have to play a good team and anything can happen in the final.

"We have our own expectations and our own expectations are very high."

City went into their semi-final on the back of an impressive and psychologically important derby win over Premier League leaders Manchester United at Old Trafford. Prior to that they demolished Newcastle 4-0.

There is a feeling that since conceding defeat to United in the title race - they currently trail by 15 points - they have started playing without pressure.

But Platt said: "I don't think it is a case of that, the pressure is still on to win football games."

City were certainly at their best for the first hour of their semi-final win, dominating in all departments to claim a 2-0 lead.

Chelsea responded and forced Roberto Mancini's men to defend resolutely in the closing third but City came through 2-1.

Platt said: "It is a big result.

"You set off every season playing for the trophies you are involved in. You want to win them all.

"There is nothing like an FA Cup final in England. It stands the test of time despite all the euphoria around the Champions League and Premier League, which are the big prizes, let's not be silly about it.

"The FA Cup final has got its own status in this country. We would like to be in it."

Mancini continued with his cup policy of playing back-up goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon in place of Joe Hart in the semi-final.

The Romanian had not conceded a goal in any of the previous rounds but his selection ahead of England first choice Hart was still a minor surprise.

However, after Pantilimon justified his place in the second half, it may not raise eyebrows if the 26-year-old plays again in the final.

Platt said: "Your goalkeeper that backs up the number one has a thankless task. He is always away in the hotels, he sits on the bench - when does he ever get on? When does he ever get a game?

"It is important he plays big games so that he is ready for that.

"That is what Robbie has done over the years. He has allocated domestic cup competitions to that goalkeeper.

"I think it would have been unfair to Costel to change the goalkeeper.

"If he keeps his place the final will be a different game, a different choice, but I don't think he has done anything wrong to warrant not playing in that final."

City are unlikely to risk playmaker David Silva against Wigan as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury. Micah Richards, Maicon and Jack Rodwell are all back in contention after lengthy lay-offs as Mancini considers changes.

Sergio Aguero has been at the centre of controversy since the semi-final following a two-footed challenge on David Luiz in the closing stages, but he will not face retrospective action.

With referee Chris Foy having awarded a free-kick, the Football Association feels there is no scope to review the matter.

Platt said: "It is a situation that has gone. I am not surprised he has got off. They are the rules, the officials saw it."

Platt is not expecting to get many cup final clues from Wigan this week.

He said: "Each team has four or five games before then.

"It is not a case of because we are playing them tomorrow we will know how to play them in the cup final. I don't think it has any correlation whatsoever."

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