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Mancini targets top four with City

Mancini has ambitious plans after taking over at big-spending Manchester City.
Mancini has ambitious plans after taking over at big-spending Manchester City.
  • Roberto Mancini sets target of top four finish for Manchester City this season
  • Mancini took over from the sacked Mark Hughes at the weekend
  • City chief Garry Cook denies there is a player rebellion at the Premier League club
  • Cook also says Hughes was given a target of 70 points for the season

(CNN) -- Roberto Mancini has set his sights on a top four finish in the English Premier League this season to bring Champions League football to Manchester City after taking over from the sacked Mark Hughes.

The Italian, speaking competent English in his first press conference on Monday, made his ambitions clear for his new club after he signed a three and a half year deal at Eastlands.

"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."

Mancini, who led Inter Milan to three Serie A titles, compared Milan to Manchester and is eyeing the same level of success at Eastlands.

City take huge gamble on Mancini

"I hope history repeats itself," Mancini earlier told the club's official Web site.

"I am proud to get the job because City is a good club with good players. Manchester is similar to Milan in its football passion.

"In Milan there are two big teams there fighting for supremacy and silverware and here it is the same. I like the challenge of that."

The top four, that is my target
--Roberto Mancini

As Mancini was officially unveiled, City chief executive Garry Cook gave the club's version of their grounds for sacking Hughes, who claimed on Sunday that he had been set a pre-season target of a top six finish.

City were sixth after beating Sunderland 4-3 in his final match in charge, but Cook claimed the Welshman had actually been set a stiffer challenge.

"The new target the playing staff agreed with the board was 70 points and the trajectory of recent results was below this requirement and the board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change," he told reporters.

Cook also denied reports that Mancini had been the manager in waiting for several weeks.

"Roberto was only offered the job after the Spurs game (City lost 3-0 to Tottenham last Wednesday) and finalized the agreement on Friday."

Cook, under strong questioning from reporters, also denied reports of a player revolt when they were told Hughes was going after Saturday's game.

"The board felt the sooner the change was made the less disruption there would be and that it would be more appropriate for Mark and his team, there is no player rebellion," he added.

Mancini had already installed former Manchester United star Brian Kidd as his assistant, and will turn to Italians Ivan Carminati, Fausto Salsano and goalkeeping specialist Massimo Battara for the rest of his coaching staff.

The board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change change."
--Garry Cook - Man City chief executive

Former Italy international Mancini, who has no experience of English club football management, admitted Kidd would have a key role to play in helping him adapt.

"I know Brian, he is a boss in English football," Mancini said. "

I know his record as a top player for City, Everton and (Manchester) United. He was a striker, I was a striker; we share the same football philosophy. He has also has great coaching experience. I am sure we will gel very well."

The club's Abu-Dhabi backers, led by owner Sheikh Mansour, have spent over $300 million since their takeover 15 months ago and Hughes was able to recruit a clutch of star players in the close season transfer window.

But after a promising start to the season, a run of just two wins in 11 games probably sealed Hughes' fate, despite taking City to the semifinals of the English League Cup, chasing the club's first silverware since 1976.

Mancini's first test will be a clash on Saturday against Stoke City and he was quick to evaluate his squad as he took training with Kidd ahead of his media conference.