x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Mansour backs Hughes

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the owner of Abu Dhabi United Group, which recently took over Manchester City, has expressed his commitment to Mark Hughes.

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Cup, second qualifying round, first leg at the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester.
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes gestures on the touchline during the UEFA Cup, second qualifying round, first leg at the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester.

ABU DHABI // Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, the owner of Abu Dhabi United Group, which recently took over Manchester City, has expressed his commitment to Mark Hughes and his management team. Sheikh Mansour gave his support for the club's current direction under Hughes after a run of defeats led to speculation in the British press about the manager's future. Yesterday Sheikh Mansour met in the capital with Hughes; the club's chairman, Khaldoon al Mubarak; and its executive chairman, Garry Cook.

In a statement released after the meeting, Sheikh Mansour said: "I find that both Mark and Garry share an ambition for success and the enthusiasm and capability to deliver on that ambition. "I'm delighted at the potential for both men to positively impact the evolution of the Manchester City Football Club in its entirety." Sheikh Mansour said he "fully endorsed" the plans, approved by the Manchester City board, that Mubarak, Hughes and Cook outlined to him yesterday.

He said the proposals reflected a "shared aim" of seeing Manchester City "evolve to become a significant force in the world of football". "Importantly, we see that evolution being on every level and borne out of a sustainable approach that has its foundations in the club's academy, its fans and the relationship with the Manchester community," he said. Sheikh Mansour described Hughes's strategy for how the team should be developed as "compelling".

"He has my absolute mandate to implement his plans to evolve this team in the right way over the short, medium and long terms," he said. Mubarak said: "All parties found the meeting so useful that the intention is for the group to meet every few months." Yesterday's meeting, said to have covered "all aspects" of the club's operations on and off the pitch, followed the first board meeting under the new ownership, on Sunday.

Abu Dhabi United Group, wholly owned by Sheikh Mansour, took a 90 per cent controlling stake in Manchester City in September. The club has lost its past three league games, to Middlesbrough, Bolton and Tottenham, and is currently 13th out of 20 clubs in the English Premier League. @Email:dbardsley@thenational.ae