Mancini targets Premier League glory
Roberto Mancini turned his sights to the Premier League title next season and revealed there would be no big celebrations and no alcohol for his Manchester City side after they lifted the FA Cup to bring an end to a 35-year quest for a major trophy.
Yaya Toure scored a second-half goal as City beat Stoke City 1-0 in a one-sided final in which captain Carlos Tevez and his team-mates outclassed their opponents.
Mancini also denied City's victory was overshadowed by the fact that Manchester United had picked up the Premier League trophy with the point won in their 1-1 draw with Blackburn minutes before the FA Cup final at Wembley kicked off.
When asked if the cup victory felt devalued, Mancini said: "Absolutely not. In England there are three competitions, the Premier League, Carling Cup and FA Cup. We won the FA Cup. It is an important trophy. We need to improve more to do another step (win the title), but it was important to start to win because when you start to win, afterwards everything will be easier.
"We want to try (to match United). We have got to the Champions League, that was our first target and we won the FA Cup. It is very important for this club."
On whether the drinks would be flowing Mancini, whose side play Stoke again in the Premier League on Tuesday, also said: "No, they know that we should play in three days. We have another two games and we want to try if possible to get third position.
"This night all the people in Manchester are happy. Next year we will see. It is important we finish well this season. We can try to play for the top with the other teams but this Premier League is very difficult because Liverpool and Tottenham are also very strong teams."
Mancini singled out goalscorer Toure, whose basic pay packet is reported to be the biggest in the Premier League, for special praise.
"We bought him for this," Mancini said. "He is a fantastic player. He scored in the semi-final and the final. All season he has played very well."
Controversial striker Mario Balotelli, who shrugged off a physical collision with Robert Huth in the first half and was then named as man of the match, also impressed Mancini. "Balotelli played very well. This trophy for him could be important. It can help him to improve like a man and as a player."
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis, meanwhile, revealed his players were distraught after failing to emulate their formidable form of the past two months "We've reached a level of performances over the last six or seven weeks, beaten Newcastle and Wolves and Arsenal and come to Wembley and beaten Bolton very convincingly.
"The greatest disappointment is that today we have not reached that level. They are disappointed with themselves for not reaching that level. Manchester City were the better team. They deserved to win the game. You need to bring your 'A' game to the table.
"We have had a great season. To be eighth in the Premier League, to have got to an FA Cup final, to stay in the Premier League for a fourth consecutive year and to be in Europe next season is a fantastic achievement."
Pulis, who saw goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen make two flying saves from Carlos Tevez and Balotelli, put Stoke's disappointing showing down to having lost key players such as Ricardo Fuller and Danny Higginbotham. "Maybe we ran out of a few players," Pulis said. "Ran out of a bit of depth that Manchester City have got. They're human beings, but they've been fantastic and they are desperately disappointed."
The Stoke manager also saluted City's supporters who stayed to watch the cup being presented and whose enthusiasm made the occasion as vibrant as Wembley has seen in years. "Our supporters were fantastic. To be there at the end of the game to watch another side pick up the trophy is pretty unique.
"The club has been a community club. It's the closest I've ever known a group of supporters to get with a football club. It's been pretty phenomenal."
And on the prospect of competing in the UEFA Europa League next season Pulis added: "It's fantastic that we are in Europe for the first time for so many years. We'll look forward to it."