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May 31, 2013

Al-Mubarak sets bar high at City

Manuel Pellegrini will be set the target of winning every competition Manchester City enter as the stakes are raised for the new regime at the Etihad Stadium.

• Curtis: Thank you, too!

Chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak admits it will be difficult to succeed on all fronts but believes the 2012 Premier League champions have the players and ability to sweep the board.

Malaga coach Pellegrini is likely to be confirmed as the replacement to the sacked Roberto Mancini next week and Al Mubarak hailed him for his man-management skills.

"We have a wonderful team running this process internally [to select a new manager] and are putting a very comprehensive process in place," he told the club's official website. "They have created a shortlist of managers who fit that criteria and we are pretty much done. We are very close. I expect to make an appointment probably in the next two weeks.

"The target now is to win every competition that we play in. That is the target, quite simply. It is a high ambition, but we have the organisation and the squad to get us there.

"Obviously, you would get the same answer from most people, but I am saying it with confidence.

"We have won the Premier League before, we know what it takes to win it and we will win it again. We have won the FA Cup before and we can do that again."

City have twice been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages and Al Mubarak, who said he is unhappy with their performance on the European stage, insists they will recruit players to enable them to win the competition.

He added: "In Europe, we have not been as successful in the Champions League and there is no doubt we have a lot of improvement to make there.

"But with the squad, the organisation, the manager coming in and the new players we will sign, we will have a strong team to compete in the Champions League.

"This club is about winning championships. We want a successful club that will compete, year on year, in every competition that we play in."

Al Mubarak said City's powerbrokers were united in their decision to dismiss Mancini, who won the club's first league title for 44 years, 48 hours after the FA Cup final.

"We all felt it was time for a change," he explained. "Roberto did a great job for the club, winning the FA Cup and Premier League, and everybody should be deeply appreciative of that. But on reflection, I have mixed feelings about last season. There were ups and downs, to say the least.

"We finished second in the Premier League. That's not great, but it is an achievement. We finished second in the FA Cup, again not great, but it's good. In the Champions League, I was disappointed with our performance.

"After winning the Premier League, the expectation was to achieve more and move forward. That did not happen, so we must now focus on getting back on track because the club is designed to win championships."

Mancini did not always enjoy a harmonious relationship with his players and Al Mubarak said his successor has to communicate better and promote more players from the academy.

He added: "The type of person we would like running our football team is someone with great man-management capability and the ability to get the best out of the talent we have, get the best out of the youth we have and establish and continue a systematic approach from the youth team to the elite team and reserves.

"We obviously want sustainable success for this club and (picking the manager) is absolutely the most important decision for a football club."

Al Mubarak also said that right-backs Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards will be given new contracts.

"Zabaleta and Micah are coming soon," Al-Mubarak said. "They are core members of our team, just like those who have already signed new deals - Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Gael Clichy."

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