England Erikkson targets FA Cup glory

London, Jan 6: Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson set his sights on FA Cup glory after watching his team grind out a third round goalless draw at West Ham.

City will be favourites to progress in the replay later this month as they have won ten and lost only one of their 13 games at home this season.
Some Premier League managers, such as Reading's Steve Coppell, have made it clear that they care little for the FA Cup, but Eriksson does not share that mentality.The Swede said: "The FA Cup is a big competition. We are not playing in Europe this season, and we are out of the League Cup, so we have only the Premier League and the FA Cup to play for.

"We want to do everything possible to do as well as we can in both these competitions."

Eriksson also expects striker Nery Castillo to become an important player for the club following the Mexican's year-long loan move from Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk.

Playing just behind lone striker Darius Vassell, Castillo made a promising debut at Upton Park on Saturday, displaying pace, intelligence and extremely quick feet.

Castillo was given his chance because Brazilian playmaker Elano did not travel with the squad due to illness, but Eriksson insisted that the pair could play in the same team.

He continued: "Castillo has come to a new country, where he doesn?t speak the language. It's also a new style of football for him. If you take all those factors into account, I thought he made a brilliant debut.

"He is very sharp indeed. I have seen him play just behind the main striker, but also on the left and on the right.

"I asked him which was his best position, but he said he could play equally well in any of them - and as a centre-forward."

Eriksson was satisfied with a result which makes his team clear favourites to progress to the fourth round.

Midfielder Stephen Ireland had the best chances for City, his two powerful volleys saved by Robert Green, while West Ham's clearest opportunities were squandered by Dean Ashton and Matthew Etherington.

Eriksson believed City should have been awarded a penalty when Martin Petrov tumbled under a challenge from Anton Ferdinand in the first half, and the Swede was also full of praise for his goalkeeper Joe Hart, who made a number of fine saves.

Eriksson said: "Although we hoped to win the game, a draw is OK. We defended very well throughout the 90 minutes, and perhaps we should have scored with one of the half-chances we had before the break.

"Joe Hart was fantastic. He is already a great goalkeeper, because he has a bit of everything. He can handle crosses, he has good feet, good reactions, and he is very brave."

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley applauded his counterpart Eriksson's decision to choose a strong side for the game.

He added: "City gave the competition the respect it deserves by playing their best available XI, and we did the same.

"Because of our injury situation, we couldn't have rotated even if we had wanted to, and City are playing so well at the moment, so it was logical for them to keep going as they were."

One India News

Story first published: Sunday, January 6, 2008, 15:04 [IST]
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