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Gabriel thought Prem 'would be harder'

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By ESPN Staff

City chairman targets top six finish

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has challenged manager Mark Hughes to lead the club to a place in the top six of the Premier League next season.

City's defeat by Tottenham at the weekend ended their hopes of a spot in the Europa League. However, with one match remaining - against Bolton on Sunday - Hughes is already clear about the club's ambitions following meetings with Al Mubarak and chief executive Garry Cook.

Al Mubarak told the club's website: ''I think people see me as a reasonable and realistic man. Given what we have done this year and the ambitions we have this summer, a top-six finish next year should be a reasonable and achievable target.

''There will be money for new players. We need more depth and plans are already advanced.

''I have been talking to Garry and Mark for weeks now. We are pretty clear on what we want, and I am clear on what Mark has identified as the areas that need to be supported, and we will step up.

''We all know we are not going to splash money around, because that model, that formula, doesn't work.

''You're not going to buy 22 new players and then the next year you win the Premier League.

''It needs to be done sustainably, with quality management, quality infra-structure and a quality manager. That's what we are doing. The players will come, and the results will come.''

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