De Jong: City have surpassed Chelsea hatred

Manchester City midfielder Nigel De Jong has claimed that the Blues have now surpassed Chelsea as the Premier League's most hated club.

"We have taken over the role Chelsea experienced," the Dutch midfielder told the Manchester Evening News.

"During away matches you feel the hate for us in the stadiums and nobody wants us to be successful."

The oil-rich Eastlands club were acquired in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who has since invested more than £1 billion into the club, surpassing the spending of Roman Abramovich, who bought rivals Chelsea in 2003.

Mansour's billions have helped Man City qualify for the Champions League and win the FA Cup, their first trophy in 35 years, and De Jong believes the Blues will need to maintain that level of success in order to keep the boo boys at bay.

"That stopped at Chelsea when they won the championship and that will probably be the same for us," he said.

"After we won the FA Cup I sensed there were changes in attitudes. City is still the working class club and we have to keep it like that but gradually we are getting better players and a more international allure.

"We have to mould a collective; a team has to be like your second family. Don't forget that an active transfer strategy intensifies the mentality of the players and everyone here including the big transfers has to fight hard for their place. That raises the level. And if you think that City only has to throw money about and do nothing else then in no time it will fail.

"It's all about forming a team that is going to be one of the top clubs in Europe, it won't happen in a year and everyone is aware of that, we're realistic but remain very ambitious."

City have already strengthened their back line with defenders Stefan Savić and Gael Clichy, and are reportedly interested in Arsenal’s Samir Nasri and Argentina strike pair Sergio Aguero of Atletico Madrid and Napoli’s Ezequiel Lavezzi.

By James Wilkinson