Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano has offered his backing to manager Roberto Mancini.
It has been widely reported that City have been considering alternative options for next season, with Mancini having failed to deliver any measure of success in the Champions League and with little prospect of retaining the Premier League title.
However, the club's first-team coach, David Platt, recently insisted that there is "an appreciation of Roberto from the supporters and the owners", and Soriano has now given the Italian some public backing.
"Mancini is a champion," he told a press conference in Italy where he was picking up an award for his book, Goal: The Ball Doesn't Go in By Chance. "There is no more to say. Anyway, it is not easy to win back-to-back titles in any league, especially the Premier League. One year you can win with luck but in the long term you need planning and investments to reach the final of the Champions League.
"Our squad is still competitive. Our problem is finding players stronger than those we already have and that's not easy."
Soriano, who arrived at Eastlands in August after having previously worked at Barcelona, also said he believed City were bringing their finances in line with the requirements of UEFA's Financial Fair Play.
"In the last three years there have been losses of £200 million, then of £100 million and now there is a 'red line' of £50 million [imposed by UEFA], but we have also invested £150 million for the infrastructure of our youth system," he said, referring to the Etihad Campus. "It's a fantastic project, focusing on financial sustainability.
"In 2003 we did a study at Barcelona and for every player who ended up in the first team from the academy there was an average cost of £2 million, which is nothing if you think of the current cost of players. The principle of bringing players through is fundamental to give a technical identity to a club, because that leads to a style of play.
"They have to learn from five years old the style of the team, and then you get the benefits.''
Information from the Press Association was used in this report