Mancini (left) celebrates the first goal of his reign with assistant boss Brian Kidd
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Eastlands
Roberto Mancini calmed the turbulence around Eastlands as he started his reign as Manchester City manager with a comfortable victory against Stoke City.
Mancini was warmly greeted by City's fans after taking charge following the controversial sacking of Mark Hughes - and his opening victory will have been greeted with relief by watching chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak and chief executive Garry Cook.
The pair have been heavily criticised following the removal of Hughes and the hasty succession of the former Inter Milan coach, but they will now hope focus can return to events on the field at Eastlands and the pursuit of fourth place in the Premier League.
Martin Petrov, restored to the side by Mancini, scored the first goal under the Italian's stewardship with a far-post finish after 28 minutes and Carlos Tevez turned in the second in first-half stoppage-time.
City's victory was workmanlike as opposed to spectacular, and even in defeat Stoke were occasionally able to hint at the defensive vulnerability that did much to undermine Hughes's reign before his ruthless dismissal.
Mancini happy with debut victory
Hughes has left one major dilemma behind for the Italian to solve - and it was in evidence as Craig Bellamy was greeted by a standing ovation when he replaced the disappointing Robinho with 20 minutes left.
It was an obvious message to Mancini about Bellamy's approval rating inside Eastlands, and a sign that his tireless efforts are preferred to the more fleeting glimpses of the Brazilian's genius.
This is for the future however, perhaps the January transfer window, and all City and Mancini required was the triumph to start yet another new managerial era.
Mancini, resplendent in sky blue scarf and enthusiastically welcomed by those gathered inside Eastlands, was able to reflect on a job well done after his first 45 minutes in charge as City established a two-goal lead.
Stoke, if anything, were quicker to settle than City and in the early stages had the game's brightest performer in Tuncay. He forced Shay Given into a brave block after 20 minutes and the keeper needed lengthy treatment after colliding with team-mate Kolo Toure after making the save.
City goalscorers Petrov (left) and Tevez enjoy the Argentine's strike
Bellamy's relegation to the bench after Hughes's dismissal clearly struck a chord with City's fans, who gave the Welsh striker a rousing reception as he warmed up along the touchline. If these cheers were designed to send a message to Mancini, they were overshadowed by the first goal of the Italian's reign after 28 minutes.
When Tevez's cross found Robinho in the area it was debatable what the Brazilian actually intended to do, but his touch fell perfectly into the path of Petrov, who drove home at the far post.
Petrov almost doubled the lead two minutes before the interval when he arrived on the end of Silvinho's cross in an identical position at the far post, but this time applied a wayward finish.
If Stoke thought Petrov's miss ensured they would go in at half-time only one goal behind, they were to be disappointed as Tevez scored City's second almost as referee Lee Mason prepared to blow his whistle.
Gareth Barry won a header from Pablo Zabaleta's cross and Tevez turned an athletic finish beyond the reach of Thomas Sorensen.
And it was almost three immediately after the break when Sorensen saved well from Petrov and recovered to claim the rebound as Robinho closed in.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis was then forced to play all his cards in swift succession as Robert Huth replaced the injured Andy Wilkinson and strikers Mamady Sidibe and Tuncay were removed, James Beattie and Ricardo Fuller entering the action.
Beattie and Huth were both involved as Stoke tried to make inroads into City's lead. Given reacted well to make a one-handed save from Beattie at the near post, and Huth rose to head the resulting corner just wide.
With 20 minutes remaining there was a significant moment as Eastlands roared its approval for the appearance of Bellamy at the expense of the lacklustre Robinho.
And he almost delighted his legion of fans even further when he broke past Huth into the area, but saw his effort blocked by Sorensen's legs.
Mancini applauded his players in delight at the final whistle, and can now move to the next stage of his mission - to revive Manchester City.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini:
City seeking success under Mancini - Barry
"For me today is a good match. The players were fantastic as Stoke is a hard team.
"We didn't concede a goal, the balance was good and we played well in the first half. It's important the team play the ball on the pitch.
"I think we must work hard. I work for five days only and if we want to arrive at the top we must work hard." Stoke City boss Tony Pulis: "We've created good chances again and we have to put them in the back of the net. If we go 1-0 then it's a different game and there's pressure on Man City to play well.
Pulis worried by goal famine
"We gave two poor, poor goals away. We are very disappointed with the goals we conceded. Games are won and lost in both boxes and we certainly have got to improve that but the players have put the effort in again and have had a right go.
"It's a problem because we need to score goals to win games but it's not as if we are not creating chances.
"We have had four of our last six games away from home so it's been a tough period but we have a few games at home and it's important we are up for it."
90:00+2:12 Effort from deep inside the area by Danny Higginbotham misses to the right of the target.
90:00+1:29 Foul by Vincent Kompany on Ricardo Fuller, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Etherington.
90:00+0:29 The official flags Ricardo Fuller offside. Shay Given takes the indirect free kick.
89:33 Substitution Javier Garrido is brought on as a substitute for Carlos Tevez.
88:55 The offside flag is raised against Dean Whitehead. Free kick taken by Shay Given.
88:07 Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Matthew Etherington, Micah Richards manages to make a clearance.
87:23 Effort from just outside the area by Carlos Tevez goes over the bar.
83:00 Free kick awarded for a foul by Vincent Kompany on Ricardo Fuller. Glenn Whelan restarts play with the free kick.
81:50 Corner from right by-line taken by Martin Petrov.
81:28 Short corner worked by Craig Bellamy.
81:08 Craig Bellamy takes a shot. Save made by Thomas Sorensen.
79:52 Direct free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.
79:52 Booking The referee books Glenn Whelan for unsporting behaviour.
79:48 Glenn Whelan is penalised for a handball.
78:03 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington, save made by Shay Given.
76:09 James Beattie fouled by Nigel De Jong, the ref awards a free kick. Abdoulaye Faye restarts play with the free kick.
72:15 Header by Ricardo Fuller from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
71:51 Ricardo Fuller fouled by Craig Bellamy, the ref awards a free kick. Matthew Etherington takes the direct free kick.
70:58 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ricardo Fuller by Vincent Kompany. Direct free kick taken by Robert Huth.
69:57 Unfair challenge on Craig Bellamy by Dean Whitehead results in a free kick. Pablo Zabaleta takes the free kick.
69:23 Substitution De Souza Robinho goes off and Craig Bellamy comes on.
65:02 Substitution Micah Richards comes on in place of Silvio Sylvinho.
62:57 Volleyed right-footed shot by James Beattie. Save by Thomas Sorensen. Outswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington from
the left by-line, Header from close in by Robert Huth misses to the right of the goal. De Souza Robinho produces a right-footed
shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kolo Toure
by James Beattie. Nigel De Jong takes the free kick.
62:02 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matthew Etherington by Pablo Zabaleta. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Etherington.
57:52 Gareth Barry restarts play with the free kick.
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