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Page last updated at 11:18 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Man City angry at reaction to Mancini's appointment

Roberto Mancini (left) and chief executive Garry Cook
Mancini listens to chief executive Garry Cook during Monday's news conference

Manchester City have responded angrily to the media reaction to the sacking of manager Mark Hughes by banning copies of newspapers at their training ground.

City believe players could be unsettled by negative headlines in the wake of the decision to replace Hughes with Italian Roberto Mancini on Saturday.

The club have insisted that they did not lie to fans about when they approached Mancini to take over.

"This is absolutely not the case," said a City statement.

Hughes was dismissed after Saturday's game with Sunderland, which City won 4-3, with Mancini named immediately as his successor.

Rumours suggesting Hughes was about to be sacked were widespread on Friday last week, and the speed at which City appointed Mancini fuelled speculation the club had decided to change managers weeks ago.

But at a news conference on Monday, City chief executive Garry Cook said the decision to replace Hughes was first discussed after the 1-1 draw with Hull on 28 November while the decision to appoint Mancini was not finalised until after the 3-0 loss to Tottenham on 16 December.

If we are not careful all the jobs seem to be going to foreign coaches

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce

Mancini later admitted he had met with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak a fortnight ago to discuss football "in general".

The news conference led to negative headlines in the newspapers, which prompted Manchester City to clarify their position.

"In light of the fact that both Garry Cook's and Roberto Mancini's responses are consistent, it is with some surprise that we and our fans read some of [Tuesday's] reporting," said the club statement.

"Garry Cook and new manager Roberto Mancini together took to the stage to give journalists and, more importantly, our fans the complete picture of the events of the past few days and weeks.

"The outcome was characterised in way which has suggested that the football club and Garry Cook has lied to its fans. Manchester City would like to point out that this is absolutely not the case.

"The decision to look at managerial options was taken only three weeks ago after the Hull game, but I think it is important for people to know that Roberto was only offered the job after the Spurs game; we negotiated on Thursday and finalised his agreement on Friday."

Brit managers need a chance - Bruce

And former Manchester City chairman David Bernstein, who was at the helm between 1998 and 2003, says the club's image has been dented a little by what has happened this week.

"The first thing fans want is a winning and successful side but they also want one that behaves professionally and with dignity and for their club to be well perceived," Bernstein told BBC Radio 5 live.

"People say that it is typical City but I hate to hear that because as a fan you want Manchester City treated with respect.

"What has happened over the last few days has not helped."

Meanwhile, two Premier League managers have raised concerns that Hughes's sacking represents an unhealthy trend in English football.

Mancini has become the seventh non-British manager in the Premier League, the fourth at a club currently in the league's top eight sides.

While welcoming Mancini, Sunderland boss Steve Bruce fears the proliferation of foreign coaches, saying: "If we are not careful all the jobs seem to be going to foreign coaches.

"I can't see many English or British coaches working in their countries. I do feel for the British managers who work extremely hard down the lower divisions.

"It seems now that when there is a big job coming up they are overlooked."

Meanwhile, Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill expressed his surprise over the departure of Hughes.

"Manchester City had lost less games in the Premier League than anyone else," said O'Neill.


"This idea that you step in and be given some money to spend and you turn things round immediately, just wouldn't happen in any other business."

Former Inter Milan boss Mancini was in place to take over at Eastlands prior to the game against Sunderland, a fact which left O'Neill to lament the fickle nature of football.

"I've heard there was talk Mancini had been speaking to City some weeks before," he said.

"Mark Hughes had taken the team into the Carling Cup semi-final, the first visit they had made there for 20 odd years, and so football can be pretty fickle."

Despite his reservations over the number of foreign managers in the Premier League, Bruce was also eager to welcome Mancini.

"You can't argue with his record," stated Bruce.

"I think he won seven trophies in something like four years at Inter Milan and we wish him genuinely the best of luck.

"He is a very, very nice man and a genuine man, and he was a fantastic player.

"I wish him the best of luck in the Premier League, and Brian Kidd too."

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see also
Mancini eyes Man City title glory
22 Dec 09 |  Man City
Man City defend sacking of Hughes
21 Dec 09 |  Man City
Man City turn to Mancini
21 Dec 09 |  Man City
I had no warning of sack - Hughes
20 Dec 09 |  Man City
Man City ditch Hughes for Mancini
19 Dec 09 |  Man City
Manchester City statement
19 Dec 09 |  Man City
Man City under Mark Hughes
19 Dec 09 |  Football
Man City 4-3 Sunderland
19 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Mancini hits out after Inter axe
30 May 08 |  Europe

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