Carlo Cudicini insists the experiences of this season’s Champions League campaign are driving the squad on to make it into the Premier League’s top four again.
The club’s first Champions League campaign has been quite a journey, from the lows of the first half-hour and a 3-0 deficit in the play-off first leg at Young Boys to the highs of beating the reigning champions Inter at the Lane on the way to qualifying for the knockout stages as group winners.
There are two routes back into Europe’s elite competition – winning it this season or via a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Last Saturday’s late win against Bolton, followed by Chelsea’s home loss against Liverpool, means we’re fifth in the Premier League, level on points with the Blues and five adrift of City in third, with a game in hand.
“Everyone at the club has had the chance to experience exactly what it means to be part of the Champions League,” said goalkeeper Carlo.
“We’re all giving 100 per cent and more to try and finish fourth because we all want to be in the Champions League again next season as well.
“This season is harder because Manchester City are doing better than last season, but we’re up there, we love the challenge and we’ll be up there at the end of the season.”
Carlo joined the chorus of praise for Niko Kranjcar, who came off the bench to conjure up a spectacular 92nd-minute winner against Bolton at the weekend.
“I’m so happy for Niko,” said Carlo. “He’s such a great guy and he deserved that moment. He works so hard in training and even when he comes into games for just 10 minutes, he always gives his best. I’m really happy for him.”