Monday 23 October 2017

Mancini urges City to follow Barca and Real template by spending big every year

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

Mark Ogden

Roberto Mancini has challenged the Manchester City hierarchy by claiming the club must "spend a lot of money" like Real Madrid and Barcelona in order to compete in the Champions League.

The City manager, who is due to open talks with the club's Abu Dhabi powerbrokers over a new long-term contract at the Etihad Stadium, is determined to make key acquisitions this summer in order to build on the team's Premier League title triumph.

But although senior figures at City are ready to back Mancini by pushing through attempts to sign Arsenal's Robin van Persie and Lille midfielder Eden Hazard, the club's determination to comply with Uefa's incoming Financial Fair Play regulations ensures that players must be sold in order to make way for expensive new arrivals.

Having recorded losses of £197m last year, City could balance their transfer spending by offloading the likes of Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli, Adam Johnson and Emmanuel Adebayor.

But Mancini insists that if City are to take the next step and become a serious contender for European honours, they must follow the blueprint laid down by Spanish giants Real and Barcelona.

Improve

"Barcelona and Real Madrid every year buy two or three players and spend a lot of money," Mancini said.

"I think for Manchester City it will be the same. We need to improve. We need to have the strength to play Champions League and Premier League. For this we need to have a good team, a strong team with a good mentality, but I'm sure we will do it.

"We have started a new cycle, but in order to win the Champions League you need more.

"The Champions League is the next step. The first year was the FA Cup, the second the Premier League and I hope the third will be the Champions League. But we have to improve a lot."

Despite the club's desire to balance the books and Mancini's wish for stellar signings, the Italian is unlikely to be denied the funds to secure his top targets.

The former Inter Milan coach has bolstered his position by delivering the title and, with just 12 months to run on his £3.5m-a-year contract, the club are keen to resolve his future by negotiating a lucrative extension.

But Mancini admits that he and the club's owners have yet to formally discuss a new contract.

He said: "We haven't spoken about a new contract but I am very happy to work here. Sheikh Mansour sent me a message of congratulations. He was happy. The basis is here to start a cycle of success. The lessons of this year will be good for us, but we need time, patience and experience."

Mancini was criticised for recalling Tevez to his squad in February after the Argentinian had taken an unauthorised three-month break in Buenos Aires in November.

Having said Tevez was "finished" at City after his refusal to warm up as a substitute against Bayern Munich last September, the reconciliation between the pair has paid dividends, with Tevez playing a key role in the club's late surge to the title. Mancini insists that Tevez is not the problem player he has been made out to be.

"It's not difficult to manage Tevez," Mancini said. "He's a good guy. We had a good relationship always. I don't know why we had that situation in September, but in the end he's a good guy and a fantastic player.

"But there is no question he made a difference in the title race. Carlos is an incredible, top player."

Mancini also insisted that Balotelli would "stay in Manchester -- 101pc", despite the controversial striker's behaviour on and off the field this season. The manager said he would "probably" try to sell his fellow Italian after his sending-off at Arsenal last month, but the pair are now reconciled.

"Balotelli will remain at Manchester 101pc," Mancini said. "I am confident he will have a great European Championship. I hope Mario will be the leader of the national team because he is the best Italian striker. He just needs to make his brain work."

Manchester United have accepted an apology from City over a controversial placard held up by Tevez during their title celebrations.

Tevez, formerly of United, was filmed on TV with a sign which read 'RIP Fergie' during his club's open-top bus tour of Manchester city centre.

The banner, thought to have been passed onto the bus by a fan, referred to a remark by United boss Alex Ferguson three years ago when asked if his side would ever be underdogs against City. "Not in my lifetime," he said.

City reacted quickly to express "sincerest apologies" while Tevez also spoke of his regret.

United chief executive David Gill said: "I think it's right. The club acted pretty quickly. I think it was rather silly, frankly, but City acted with commendable speed. We move on and concentrate on other issues."

Tevez said he "got carried away in the excitement of the moment". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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