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Hughes deserves share of credit

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05 May 2010 09:13:40

Mark HughesMark Hughes should get half of the credit if City clinch a place in next season's Champions League. Blues boss Roberto Mancini says he will be happy to share the plaudits with Hughes if City over-achieve from their stated aim at the start of the season. But the Italian, who controversially replaced Hughes in the hot-seat in December, said that taking fourth would help to put the club on a new level next season. He aims to bring in "two or three" big names in the summer and gear up for a push on the Premier League summit in 2011. "Mark worked here for the first five months, and worked very well," said Mancini, whose team need to win the last two games - at home to Spurs tonight and at West Ham on Sunday - to reach the Champions League qualifiers for the first time. "If we take fourth position, it is 50 per cent down to Mark. He worked well, and now we have an important target. We have both worked here for five months, so the credit is split." Mancini said there are no nerves in the squad as they head into a game being billed as the most lucrative in City's history - it could be worth up to £60million in stark finance alone. But he said the players gathered around the Blue standard by Hughes, and tweaked by Mancini in January, know what it takes to win matches of this magnitude - and he has also been in this kind of position before. "The players are not nervous - we have players who have played in a lot of games like this, such as Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry, and Nigel de Jong," he said. "When I was at Lazio seven years ago we were in the same situation. Lazio are similar - they are not a big team and had Inter, Juventus, AC Milan and Roma all bigger than them. "But we got fourth position and played in the Champions League, and it was fantastic for Lazio." What Mancini modestly neglected to mention was that he took Lazio into the Italian top four against the odds, his players taking 80 per cent pay cuts and having been forced to sell stars Alessandro Nesta and Hernan Crespo with the club in financial turmoil. City fans looking for omens might note that the Roman club's goals that season were scored by a feisty Argentine striker, Claudio Lopez. But Mancini's focus is now on being a success with City, and he places tonight's game on a par with his last league game in charge of Inter, when two Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals sealed a third successive Serie A title. Said Mancini: "I have had a lot of important games in my career as a manager, but this is a new experience and I have a big chance here. "Tonight's match is as important as my last game for Inter, when we played Parma on the final day of the season and won the Scudetto." The rumour mill has it that Mancini will follow Hughes onto the managers' job market if he fails to secure fourth, but the City manager says he is not even considering the possibilities of defeat. He talked of bringing his wife and family to live in Manchester in September, once his daughter's school term has ended. And he spoke of his dreams of being a big success in the Premier League - something of which midfield ace Patrick Vieira says he spoke a lot when they worked together at Inter Milan. "I think we can win the title next year," said Mancini. "If we win tonight I think we have a 70 to 80 per cent chance of getting fourth position, even though we have a difficult last game at West Ham. "If we finish fourth I will be very happy for all City supporters, because they deserve success after many years. "And I think we will have a chance to get two or three good players for next year." Mancini says the club still hopes to bring in big-name players, regardless of whether they are in the Champions League or Europa Cup. "Any players who won't come here if we don't finish fourth would be making a mistake, because in future we will be a fantastic team," he said. Mancini has been dogged by talk that he will be replaced in the summer, but he says he prefers working in the Premier League to Serie A, where the owners meddle in the running of the club and the manager has less control. "For a manager the Premier League is a good experience - it is a different situation to Italy," said Mancini. "Here you decide everything and have 100 per cent responsibility. "It is different in Italy, If you lose three or four games, you get the sack! In England it is better for a manager - you get more time to build a team. "Many Italian managers would like to work here. I had worked in Italy all my life until I came here. I like it there, it is my country, but now I am happy to be here." Mancini admitted he has not yet met City owner Sheikh Mansour, but said it is something he hopes to do this summer, once the season is over. "I have not met the Sheikh, only the chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak - but the Sheikh lives and works in Abu Dhabi and I work here. I will eventually meet him. "It is not strange that I have not met him, because I work with Khaldoon and chief executive Garry Cook. "We will probably meet this summer." | Submit Comments| Comments (36)| PrintWhat's this? Emaildel.icio.usDiggredditFacebookStumbleUponNewsvineGoogle BookmarksNetscapeTechnoratiWindows LiveYahoo! MyWebMa.gnolia


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