Champions League qualifying round may not be easy for Man City

Changes made in the format last season have made it harder for English clubs finishing fourth unlike in the past when they met minnos from far-flung places.

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Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on Tuesday night to seal at least fourth spot in the English Premier League and a place in next season's European Champions League.

If the top four stays as it is then Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal will qualify directly for the lucrative group stages, while City will have to get past a qualifying round to reach that point.

The qualifying round used to be easy for big teams as they were paired against minnows from far-flung places in Europe. Reaching the group stages were a formality.

Changes made by Michel Platini, the Uefa president, last season have made it harder for English clubs finishing fourth as they will be paired against other teams finishing third and fourth around Europe - meaning potential ties against clubs such as Valencia and Bayern Munich.

But even if they have to get through a qualifying round, simply playing in the Champions League is a major boost to City and will hand them an even bigger advantage when trying to attract new players in the summer.

It is also a good thing for neutrals. English fans have had to endure a "Big Four" monopoly with United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool qualifying in several consecutive seasons.

City are the 10th English club to reach the Champions League since it was formed in 1992/93.