Man City strenuously deny lying to fans
Manchester City have been forced to insist they did not lie to fans over when they approached Roberto Mancini to become their new manager.
Mancini revealed that he had met City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak two weeks ago but club chief executive Garry Cook said negotiations with the Italian only began on Thursday - two days before Mark Hughes was sacked.
Cook did state that the decision to consider replacing Hughes was taken three weeks ago but several reports stated the club had been caught out trying to disguise when Mancini was first approached.
The publicity has led to the club banning newspapers from the training ground so that players will not be faced with negative headlines. Fans have also contacted City to complain about the club's conduct.
As a result, City issued a statement saying Cook "absolutely'' did not lie to fans.
The statement said: "CEO Garry Cook and new manager Roberto Mancini together took to the stage to give journalists and, more importantly, our fans the complete picture of the events of the past few days and week.
"The outcome was characterised in way which has suggested that the football club and Garry Cook has lied to its fans. Manchester City Football would like to point out that this is absolutely not the case.''
The statement points out that Cook stated during Monday's press conference that "the decision to look at managerial options was taken only three weeks ago after the Hull game, but I think it is important for people to know that Roberto was only offered the job after the Spurs game; we negotiated on Thursday and finalised his agreement on Friday.
Mancini, when questioned when he was first contacted by the club, replied: "Two weeks ago, I met Khaldoon for the first time. But they called me the day after the Tottenham game. Not before.''
The statement adds: "In light of the fact that both Garry Cook's and Roberto Mancini's responses are consistent, it is with some surprise that we and our fans read some of today's reporting.''
Meanwhile, Nedum Onuoha has intensified Mancini's immediate concerns about City's injury list by being ruled out for up to four weeks.
Mancini's first game in charge is against Stoke on Boxing Day and he is without two defenders in Joleon Lescott, who has just had minor knee surgery, and Onuoha, who has a calf muscle strain. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Emmanuel Adebayor may also be missing for the home match.
Mancini is expected to spend big in the transfer window but said: "The only problems I have are not who we might buy in January, but that we have too many injuries.''