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By ESPN Staff

Man City owner give Hughes an ''absolute mandate''

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan has dismissed speculation over manager Mark Hughes' future by stressing he has an ''absolute mandate'' for the long-term development of the team.

Three successive Premier League defeats have seen City slip to 13th in the table and led to rumours of discontent within the squad.

However, the club's Abu Dhabi-based owner has underlined how important Hughes is to his vision for the future.

''Mark shared with me his plans for how the team should be developed,'' said Sheikh Mansour, who today had a two-hour meeting with Hughes, City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and executive chairman Garry Cook.

''His strategy is compelling and he has my absolute mandate to implement his plans to evolve this team in the right way over the short, medium and long terms.''

The meeting in the Middle East covered all aspects of the club's operations, both on and off the field, and followed the club's first board meeting under the new ownership took place on Sunday.

''I find that both Mark and Garry share an ambition for success and the enthusiasm and capability to deliver on that ambition,'' added Sheikh Mansour. ''I'm delighted at the potential for both men to positively impact the evolution of Manchester City in its entirety.

''I fully endorse the plans approved by the Manchester City board that Khaldoon, Mark and Garry shared with me. They reflect our shared aim of seeing Manchester City evolve to become a significant force in the world of football.

''Importantly, we see that evolution being on every level and borne out of a sustainable approach that has its foundations in the club's academy; its fans and the relationship with the Manchester community.''

Al Mubarak added that all parties found the meeting so useful they intend to get together every few months to maintain discussions.

Earlier Hughes had called for an end to talk of a crisis at City.

''At the moment, it is all a little bit hysterical, you have to say. People will have to calm down a bit,'' he told the Manchester Evening News. ''But we will get points on the board because of the quality we have in the squad.

''Everyone understands that it is a very exciting time for us. The chairman knows where we are and where we want to go.

''Ideally, of course, we would much prefer to have had positive results in the last couple of games but the quality of football that we have produced has been good and there have been few occasions when I have been disappointed at what we have produced.

''There will always be disappointment if you do not win but the chairman and everyone involved know that great sides are not built overnight. We will address things and get more quality into the club and the squad because that is what we need to do to move forward.''

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