Eriksson targets European place for City

Last updated at 15:37 29 February 2008

Sven-Goran Eriksson remains quietly confident that Manchester City can secure a

place in Europe next season despite a dip in form.

The Swede's side have won only two of their last seven league games after a

blistering start to the campaign.

Sven Goran Eriksson

With 11 matches left the clock is ticking down on City's bid to clinch a place

in the top six. And Eriksson accepts that they might need to win as many as

eight of them to achieve their European goal.

That is why he is anxious to get back on track against Wigan tomorrow at

Eastlands after the home defeat by Everton on Monday.

That setback stunned supporters following the superb derby victory against

Manchester United at Old Trafford.

But Eriksson promised: "We are ready to go and fight again. We are a good team

and in excellent physical shape.

"There are 33 points left to play for and we will win more games than we


"If you look at our last three matches the only time I was disappointed was

the first 30 minutes in the defeat by Arsenal.

"We were better than Everton in lots of ways but they were difficult to

penetrate and we gave away two easy goals.

"Maybe we have slipped a bit at home but on the other hand we beat Manchester


Eriksson will be forced to make at least two changes to his side as Micah

Richards is recovering from a knee operation while Martin Petrov starts a

three-match ban.

Petrov's frustration got the better of him against Everton and he was sent off

after kicking out at Leon Osman.

"They are two of our better players, so it is a blow not to have them

available," said the City boss.

Vedran Corluka looks likely to replace Richards at the back while Brazil

playmaker Elano is set to come in for Petrov.

City could also be boosted by the return of midfielder Michael Johnson after an

abdominal strain.

Eriksson has options in attack with Nery Castillo fit again and 19-year-old

Felipe Caicedo intent on proving he has a bright future in England.

Plucked from Basle in the January transfer window, Caicedo has already

represented Ecuador in the Copa America.

He has made remarkable progress and has been compared to Chelsea's Didier


Caicedo said: "I appreciate those comments as Drogba is a great player.

"I know that expectations are high for me but that is okay. I am just happy to

be at City. It is a privilege.

"My main task is to train hard as the Swiss league is not as competitive as

the Premier League.

"The football is of a high level. It is a fast-paced game. Maybe I will get a

start soon but that is up to the coach."

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