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Dec 20, 2009

Mancini's first task will be to quell player revolt

Roberto Mancini is to be unveiled as Manchester City's new manager on Monday but it looks like he may have to restore order to a dressing room in revolt.

• Paper Round on Mark Hughes
• Kevin Keegan and Joe Royle reaction
• Roberto Mancini profile
• Jon Carter on Hughes' sacking
• Hiddink agent claims Man City contact
• Redknapp "disappointed" City got rid of Hughes

Hughes' sacking, straight after Saturday's 4-3 win over Sunderland, triggered an angry reaction from a group of players who remain solidly behind the Welshman.

While Robinho, a £32.5million purchase imposed on Hughes, and maybe even the axed Emmanuel Adebayor, will shed no tears at Hughes' exit, the core of City's side, including Shay Given, Craig Bellamy and Gareth Barry, were part of a deputation that urged chief executive Garry Cook to reverse the decision to dismiss a man who was only appointed 18 months ago.

Predictably, given Hughes' exit had been plotted for over a fortnight, it had no effect.

However, resentment remains, and Mancini must restore calm before his first match in charge against Stoke on Boxing Day.

Having been handed a £3million-a-year contract that it is said will be extended to a full three seasons should City qualify for next year's Champions League, Mancini has a fortnight to assess the troops at his disposal before deciding how much of the Abu Dhabi billions he must invest during the January transfer window.

The Italian takes over amid claims from League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan that Hughes was unaware of his fate prior to Saturday's game.

City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak revealed the decision had been taken in response to a run of just two wins in 11 in the Premier League.

City's woes stem largely from too many drawn matches, the club having lost just two games all season - one of those an unfortunate reverse in a thrilling Manchester derby.

Hughes' demeanour during and after the win at Eastlands indicated he was aware of the board's decision to terminate his contract prior to the game, but that was not the case, according to Bevan.

"I spoke to Mark last night and he found out immediately after the game when he was called into a meeting and informed that his contract was being terminated, but I think the decision had probably been taken some time ago," Bevan told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.

"I think Mark and everybody else in this country realises that you can't buy trophies in one season.

"If they [overseas owners] feel that, then we'll continue with the sackings and we'll continue with affinity lost to our clubs in England, because I'm pretty sure the Manchester City fans will be sorry to see Mark go.

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