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Hughes "unaware" City bullet was coming

Mark Hughes claims he did not know he was to be relieved of his duties at Manchester City until after his team's 4-3 defeat of Sunderland.

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The Welshman, who it was announced was to be swiftly replaced by Roberto Mancini in a statement released at 7.30 pm on Saturday, gave his side of the story in a statement released by the League Managers' Association and made pointed reference to how fast the Italian had been put in place. He also took the time to defend his record, pointing out his team's achievement in reaching the Carling Cup semi-finals and defeats of both Arsenal and Chelsea.

"I was informed after yesterday's match against Sunderland that my contract with Manchester City was being terminated with immediate effect," said Hughes. "Notwithstanding media coverage to the contrary, I was given no forewarning as to the Club's decision. Given the speed with which my successor's appointment was announced, it would appear that the Club had made its decision some considerable time ago.

"I am extremely disappointed not to have been given the opportunity to see through my plans at the Club. At the beginning of the season I sat down with the owners and it was agreed that a realistic target for the season would be 6th place in the Barclays Premier League, or in the region of 70 points. All of this was communicated to the players and we all knew where we stood. Whilst everyone at the Club would obviously have wanted to see more wins, we were absolutely on target at the time of my dismissal. Only recently we had terrific victories against both Arsenal and Chelsea."

"I am very proud of the fact that I steered the Club through the most significant period of change in its history.

"I have always been aware of the responsibility that comes with being afforded the luxury of a significant transfer budget, and I was grateful that the Club supported me with significant investment in players. I very much regret, however, that I will not now be able to enjoy the success that would undoubtedly have followed in the light of that investment.

"I believe that I have handled with dignity the recent pressure placed upon me by press speculation.

"I would like to thank the fans for their support throughout my time at the Club and particularly at this difficult time, and I wish the Club every success in the future, particularly in relation to the forthcoming Carling Cup semi-final, the Club's first semi-final for 28 years."

Mancini is set to be unveiled on Monday as City's new boss in a press conference which may prove testing for both him and Garry Cook, the club's chief executive.

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