Roberto Mancini wants Robinho to "make history"
Roberto Mancini has urged Robinho to "make history" at Manchester City and used a chaotic first press conference as the club's new manager to declare he wants to retain the services of the Brazilian striker.
Mancini was unveiled to the national media on Monday evening but his big moment quickly transformed into an examination of chief executive Garry Cook and the controversial means and timeline by which the club removed former manager Mark Hughes.
After Cook claimed that contact was first made with the Italian following a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham on December 16, Mancini soon contradicted the chief executive by revealing that he had spoken with chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak as long as a fortnight ago.
Plots and intrigue side, the former Inter Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina coach confidently declared that he is targeting a top-four finish in May and if Mancini is to achieve that, then he may need to get the best out of Robinho who has failed to score in seven appearances this season.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta revealed on Monday that the Catalan club have failed with an offer for the Brazilian, who joined City for a British record fee of £32.5 million in August 2008, and Mancini is determined to help Robinho become a living legend at Eastlands.
"It is important for a big player like Robinho to make history with his club," Mancini said. "Robinho can be part of the history of Manchester City. I played for Sampdoria for 15 years and helped them make history. It is important Robinho makes history here. I want to keep him."
Another player linked with a possible departure from Eastlands has been Craig Bellamy as the forward flourished under fellow Welshman Hughes and was reported to be one of a number of players who protested against the manager's departure, something denied by Cook on Monday.
But Mancini expects Bellamy to quickly readjust to the new regime, describing such upheaval as "normal" in football.
"Today was my first day at the training ground and I did not have a problem with the players," Mancini said. "Training was good. It's normal players should feel bad when their manager goes. I hope they will feel that way about me when I leave in many years' time because I hope to stay here for many years.
"After today Craig will be okay. This situation is normal. When I played 25 years ago, I loved my manager, but my manager went away. This is the same situation. It is normal in football."
Speculation has also been cast on whether summer signing Kolo Toure will retain the captain's armband given City's apparent weakness in defence in recent weeks but Mancini is not considering a change at the moment.
"I don't think it is right to address this at the moment," said Mancini. "The bigger problem is that we have three or four players out injured. I have a lot of important and inspirational players and, for now, my captain will be Kolo Toure."
• Sampdoria managing director Beppe Marotta has rubbished reports that Antonio Cassano is on the verge of a move to Manchester City.
He told Calciomercato.com: "I have also read what is written in the English newspapers but I can assure you that we have not been contacted nor have we had any news relating to that.
"We know, however, that Mancini worships Cassano, but as for the rest there have not been any official offers of any type.''
Mancini has long been an admirer of the controversial Cassano who has been enjoying a new lease of since his move to Samp in 2007.