Hughes receives backing from Manchester City owner

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Manchester City owners have quashed speculation that Mark Hughes will be replaced as manager by saying he will stay on at the Premier League club for next season at least.

City has failed to make an impact this season despite the vast wealth of their new owners from Abu Dhabi, leading to suggestions that the administration might look for another big name to help the club catch up with the traditional Premier League powerhouses.

Once more, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal will fill the top four places in the league while City, after a poor start to the season, can finish no higher than ninth.

"I have been surprised at all the speculation because I have always been consistent with everyone on the subject of the manager," Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said today.

"Every time I have spoken I have said we have the highest confidence in Mark and I would like to reiterate that now. Mark will be our manager next season. Nothing has changed."

Al Mubarak said his Abu Dhabi United Group had added stability to the club.

"There has been incredible and unnecessary pressure put on Mark from outside the club. From my perspective, I think we have come a long way and I am looking for a big finish to the season," he said. "We have accomplished things since January and now we can start focusing on next season.

"This is a club that has had 10 managers in 15 years and changes of ownership. It is hard to believe we have ever had a real preseason. This time we will have that and will do so with a year's experiences behind us and that will make us stronger."

Al Mubarak said next season "is going to be better than this one."

"The club has a lot more stability."