London – Robert Mancini admitted on Friday that he did hold secret talks to leave Manchester City and become Monaco manager last season.

The Guardian reported on Thursday that the City boss had prepared what was effectively a safety net, agreeing a five-year contract with the French Ligue 2 side.

When he won the title he then opted to stay at City, agreeing a five-year contract with them instead.

“Last year I was very close with seven, eight teams but I prefer to stay here because I work well here the first three years. Also if someone thinks we didn't do a good job - we won three trophies in two years and I'm very happy, we work well.

“And now I think the next three or four years will be very important for us, I think that now with Ferran (Soriano, the new chief executive) and (Txiki) Begiristain (appointed last week as director of football) we can work very well - we can improve our team.”

Negotiations between Monaco and Mancini went on for three months, and were concluded after City had lost 1-0 at Arsenal, leaving them eight points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Asked if he had been concerned for his future, Mancini replied, “I sign a contract for the next five years, because I believe in this squad, because I can work with serious people like the owner and the chairman, really serious people and to work with these people is fantastic - it's difficult to find people that work well with the manager and for me it's a fantastic situation.

“And now I think we have time to improve and build a stronger team.”

It was then put to Mancini that the climate in Monaco is warmer and more pleasant than Manchester.

“Also Italy,” he said. “But I think the best place in this moment is this (City). For the next five years my work, my job will be here.” – Sapa-dpa