Ireland has Uefa Cup ambitions

21 March 2009 12:34
Stephen Ireland believes Manchester City can be Uefa Cup finalists just as long as they do not continue being complacent during games.

The midfielder rued his side's cavalier attitude which led to them losing a two-goal lead against Aalborg and had to rely on goalkeeper Shay Given to save the day in a penalty shoot-out.

On losing a precious lead the 22-year-old told the Daily Mail: "It's been happening all season.

"When we play the lesser teams we make it hard for ourselves, which is stupid. We should do a professional job.

"But we always play well against the good teams and I'm hoping we can go as far as the final now. I don't see why we can't.

"We're at our peak and it's really important we finish strongly."

The Premier League side are now looking forward to a quarter-final meeting with Martin Jol's Hamburg having dispatched both Danish sides Aalborg and Midtylland.

CrucialAnd City boss Mark Hughes believes in-form Ireland will be a crucial player in his side's push for the Uefa Cup final after impressing in this season's Premier League campaign.

"He is having an outstanding season," said Hughes.

"We keep mentioning the season he is having but he is a guy that has a real drive and determination to have an impact on every game he plays.

"He is prepared to stand up and be counted and put a shift in for the team.

"I think he is an example to every one of the players in the squad.

"Because of the work that he has done and the work some of the coaches have put in, it has enabled him to become a better player. Everyone can learn from his example."

Ireland is hoping to overcome an ankle injury to keep his place in the City side to face Sunderland in a crucial Premier League encounter at Eastlands on Sunday.

Source: SKY_Sports