Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Chairman hails 'magnificent' Mancini

Khaldoon al-Mubarak

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak has revealed the inspiration for the Blues' stunning Premier League title triumph came from the ashes of a desperate day at Arsenal.

Defeat at the Emirates Stadium last month left City eight points behind Manchester United, with only six games of the campaign remaining. At the time, major questions were being asked of manager Roberto Mancini, but Khaldoon revealed that even on that dark day, he never lost faith with the Italian.

In an exclusive interview with the Blues' website, Khaldoon said: "I had a conversation with Roberto. We both looked at each other and decided to take the pressure off everyone. We felt if we could win all our games and have a bit of luck, we could still pull it off."

He continued: "We had two choices. We could either raise the white flag and sulk or pick ourselves up and fight until the last second of this championship. I remember going down to the dressing room thinking we were not giving up. Something inside me said there was more to it...

"What Roberto did magnificently was to take the pressure off the entire team."

Khaldoon is clearly a huge fan of the Italian, who has transformed their fortunes in his two-and-a-half years at the helm.

"Roberto is a winner," said Khaldoon. "He is a very strong character, who wants to win more than anyone I have ever seen. He is so driven and has an incredible amount of energy.

"We have got very close over the years and I know how he works. We have all learned a lot and have managed some very difficult situations over the season.

"We have achieved our objective and won the league and a lot of credit for that must go to his managerial skills."

Now Khaldoon, owner Sheikh Mansour and Mancini must decide what transfer targets to put in place for the new season. Robin van Persie has been mentioned frequently, along with a number of other stellar names, but Khaldoon said the massive spending of recent summers will not be repeated as City are already "a championship-winning team".

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