Manchester City insisted Tuesday they had not lied to their supporters over when they approached Roberto Mancini to become their new manager.
In a prepared statement at Monday’s news conference to present Mancini as the replacement for the sacked Mark Hughes City chief executive Garry Cook claimed the Italian had agreed to join the club on Friday, two days after a 3-0 defeat to Spurs.
Mancini appeared to contradict that statement, however, by revealing that he had first met with City chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak in London a fortnight ago.
British press reports Tuesday were overwhelmingly critical of the way in which City had gone about sacking Hughes and bringing in Mancini, while fans phoned up Eastlands to complain about the club’s conduct.
But in a statement issued Tuesday, City denied supporters had been misled.
“Yesterday, CEO 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 week,” the statement said.
“The outcome was characterised in a way which has suggested that the football club and Garry Cook has lied to its fans. Manchester City Football would like to point out that this is absolutely not the case.”
City’s Abu Dhabi-based owner Sheikh Mansour, has already spent some 200 million pounds on bringing new players to Eastlands.
No side has lost fewer games in the Premier League so far this season than City, who’ve been beaten just twice and lie sixth in the table, 11 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Hughes, who on Sunday said he had no idea he was about to be sacked, believed he was on course to achieve the “realistic target” of sixth place or in the region of 70 points set by the owners at the start of the season
But Cook said Monday: “The trajectory of recent results was below this requirement and the board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change.”
Mancini claimed he had met Khaldoon in London “only to speak in general on football.”
Cook, in an unscripted intervention, added: “Two weeks ago Roberto met Khaldoon Al-Mubarak in London and after the Spurs game he was contacted for further discussions of a more serious nature.
“The discussions in London were general, they were about football and they were about considering managerial options at that point.”
Meanwhile Nedum Onouoha added to City’s injury problems ahead of Mancini’s first game in charge, against Stoke on Boxing Day, when he was ruled out for up to four weeks on Tuesday with a calf muscle strain.
Fellow defender Joleon Lescott has recently undergone minor knee surgery and is also in line to miss Saturday’s league match.