Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak has come out in support of under-fire manager Roberto Mancini, claiming that he will not be sacked and, instead, will be given ''all the tools he needs'' to make the club a success.
Roberto Mancini to stay on.
Mancini's failure to reach the chairman's stated target of 70 points or cement a top-four berth (similiar form that put paid to his predecessor Mark Hughes in December), had raised further questions over his future, but al-Mubarak insists the City hierarchy are committed to the Italian boss.
''There is no speculation,'' he told the club's website. ''Roberto has done an excellent job. I am very happy and Sheikh Mansour is delighted with the way he has organised the team. With a good pre-season to prepare for next season he (Mancini) is going to do a wonderful job for us next season and for many years.
''I have the highest regard for him as a human being and as a person and believe he is definitely the right manager for this club for many years.''
After going through five managers in the past six seasons, City fans could be forgiven for being sceptical, but the Abu Dhabi based group in control at Eastlands has evidently seen enough to be reasonably satisfied with City's efforts this term.
''We made a big leap last year,'' he said. ''It is a different team now, especially in the last couple of months. ''This is a much more organised team. Roberto is driven and committed. He has a winning mentality. He wants to achieve things and has the interests of the club at heart.
''What he needs this summer is time to prepare. We know the areas which need to be improved and the manager will be given all the tools he needs to be well prepared for next season.''
Although the chairman admits fifth place was not on the agenda, he claims that ''a winning mentality'' has emerged at the club and it is something that can be built upon.
''We are going to get there,'' said al-Mubarak. ''But we just cannot allow ourselves to sulk. Fifth is not where we would have liked to be but it's a major achievement for this club. Many people want success today and that is natural. I would have loved us to win the league this year.
''But I don't think you can win the league without building a winning mentality and that is happened this year. It's been successful. We will come back stronger, determined to move forward.''
Al-Mubarak also reserved special praise for Argentine striker Carlos Tevez, who will finish the season as the club's leading scorer.
''Carlos Tevez has scored 29 goals and has been the heart and soul of this team,'' he said. ''He has been absolutely phenomenal. ''I have no doubt he's going to be the best player in the world - it is just a matter of time.''