Mancini deal agreed before Hughes left

Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook has admitted the club agreed a deal with Roberto Mancini the day before Mark Hughes was sacked.

Italian Mancini was today unveiled by the Eastlands outfit less than 48 hours after Hughes' dismissal following the 4-3 win over Sunderland.

Cook and the City hierarchy have come in for criticism but the club CEO insists talk of a player rebellion at Eastlands is false.

"The decision to seriously look at other managerial options was taken just three weeks ago following the Hull City game (November 28)," Cook said this afternoon.

"I think it is important to know that Roberto was only offered the job after the Spurs game (December 16).

"We negotiated on Thursday, finalised an agreement on Friday and he was not in the stadium on Saturday as was falsely reported."

Cook said: "The intention was to tell Mark immediately after the game on Saturday. That would give Roberto and his team a full week to prepare for the next game.

"Regrettably, and despite our best efforts, rumours of discussions with Roberto Mancini became public before the game.

"Once Mark was informed, I informed his coaching staff and the players were then informed. That is why Kolo Toure and Shay Given were asked to attend a meeting after the game."

Cook insists the players did not react badly to Hughes' sacking despite reports to the contrary.

"There was no player rebellion, the playing and training staff are going about their business today as usual, most professionally led by Roberto and Brian Kidd."

Cook, who refused to answer questions, grew angry with the press questioning the club's timeframe.

"I really think we need to know that everybody is committed to making this club one of greatest in the world," he said.

"There are no conspiracy theories. We are working hard every day to make this a successful football club.

"We need to draw a line and move on to the future, and that's all I'll say on that subject, thank you."

Mancini confirmed his contract will run for three and a half years and revealed former City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson - under whom he played in Serie A - had been in touch.

"Sven called me yesterday, he is very happy for me, he said Manchester City is a fantastic club."

"After Inter Milan I wanted to stop for one year but I had four (approaches from clubs). I preferred to wait because I wanted to go to England and the Premier League."

Mancini revealed he hoped to lead City to a top-four finish this season - but said he had not been given a target by the club.

He said: "My squad usually play to win, always. My target is to arrive in the top four - but it's my objective, my target. I think it's possible.

"Next year we want to win the Premier League."

He added: "City is a big club. I want to stay here for many, many years and I want to contribute to winning many trophies because City has great supporters and I hope we do a good job for them.

"My job is to work hard every day to improve the play, to improve the victories. This is all.

"I think I can do a good job because we have good players."

Mancini took training with the City players for the first time today.

"I told them to believe in ourselves and they are great players and we can win if we work hard every day," he said.

The former Inter Milan coach will wait before deciding whether he wants to bring in any players of his own, but he does not feel his Premier League inexperience will be an issue.

"I want to see this week the players and after we'll make a decision," he said. "For now it's important we concentrate on Stoke.

"I played in Premier League 10 years ago with Leicester and I watched the Premier League for many years.

"Last year I stayed in Milan and I saw a lot of games. I think that football is the same (throughout) the world."

Mancini expressed sympathy for his predecessor, saying: "I'm sorry for Mark but when we start this job, this situation is possible.

"My job is a manager. I stayed in Italy for four years and I won seven trophies.

"At the end of the season they sacked me. This is our job.

"I don't want to look back."

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