Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Manchester City job will be real test for Mancini

Roberto Mancini will be unveiled as Manchester City's new manager this afternoon with his first order of business being to restore order to a dressing room in revolt.

But the Italian will also come into a job where predecessor Mark Hughes found the expectations of the club's owners changed, it has been claimed.

Having been handed a £3million-a-year contract that it is said will be extended to a full three seasons should City qualify for next year's Champions League, Mancini has a fortnight to assess the troops at his disposal before deciding how much of the Abu Dhabi billions he must invest during the January transfer window.

Saturday's win over the Black Cats moved City into sixth place in the Premier League, a position in line with the board's pre-season targets, and League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan has accused the club's owners of shifting their expectations midway through the campaign.

“Mark is very realistic about the situation,” Bevan said.

“He knew the key goals he had to hit. His target actually was the top six. He was very disappointed because they were on target for that. For me, his reputation is still intact.

“Only two defeats — the fewest in the league — semi-finals of the Carling Cup, to me it looks like the goalposts were moved and the decision was made some time ago that he wasn't to continue in his role past today.

“I'm very disappointed for Mark and indeed the City fans.

“Mark would have delivered continued success without doubt if more time had been afforded to him and his staff, but he's left a platform for the next manager without doubt.”

A City statement released on behalf of chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak said: “Prior to the current season beginning the consensus between the board and coaching staff was that appropriate agreed targets should be set for the 2009/2010 season.

“The targets were agreed as a result of the player acquisition strategy of the club being radically accelerated in the summer as a result of very favourable conditions for any buying club.

“A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the agreed targets.

“Sheikh Mansour and the board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change.

“Roberto is a hugely experienced manager with a proven track record of winning trophies and championships.”

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