London, Dec. 22 (ANI): New Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini last night inadvertently exposed the club's double dealing over the controversial sacking of Mark Hughes, when he revealed that he had opened talks with City's Abu Dhabi owners on December 2, the day Hughes' side reached the Carling Cup semi-finals.
City's chief executive Garry Cook had claimed in a carefully worded statement that Sheikh Mansour "had been nothing but transparent with Mark throughout his tenure and had communicated with him regularly over the last several weeks in keeping with that behaviour."
But Mancini revealed that, although the job offer was confirmed last Thursday, the day after a 3-0 defeat against Tottenham, he had started negotiations two weeks earlier, when the Sheikh and his right hand man, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, had flown to London.
Mancini said: "They called me the day after the Tottenham game but, two weeks before that, I had met the Sheikh and Khaldoon Al Mubarak in London.
"We met to discuss this situation, to speak on football. He wanted to know what I felt about Manchester City."
An embarrassed Cook - who had made no mention of the London meeting in his statement - interrupted to try to explain City's duplicity.
"Two weeks ago Roberto did meet with Khaldoon," he said. "The discussions were general, they were about football. We were considering our managerial options.
"It [the manager's job] was discussed in general terms. After the Spurs game last week, there were further discussions on a more serious level."
Cook admitted that City had made up their mind to review Hughes' future as long ago as the home draw with Hull on November 28.
He then attempted to defend City's treatment of Hughes by adding: "It seems to me there's an overwhelming theory that there is a conspiracy. We're not going to commit to that. That's not what was happening. We all made a decision. We moved quickly as expected." (ANI)