at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Roberto Mancini has claimed Manchester City's failure to sign the players he wanted before the start of the season played the decisive role in his team's spluttering bid to retain the Premier League title.
Mancini had hoped to build on last season's success by bringing in world-class talent in several key positions, but City were unable to secure any of their manager's top targets.
Robin van Persie was the main priority and City briefly looked favourites to sign the Arsenal forward before Manchester United snatched the star from Mancini's clutches.
Van Persie has gone on to score 23 goals for United and his arrival at Old Trafford had clearly tipped the balance of power in the title race towards Alex Ferguson's team.
The champions were also linked with other big names such as Javi Martinez, Eden Hazard and Daniele di Rossi, but instead ended up settling for Jack Rodwell, Matija Nastasic, Maicon, Scott Sinclair and Javi Garcia.
With City now trailing leaders United by 12 points, their hopes of retaining the title are fading and Mancini admits both he and the club's hierarchy made mistakes in the transfer market.
“It's important to realise we have made some mistakes. I have made some mistakes and the players have made some mistakes,” Mancini told the Guardian on Friday.
“But the first reason is because we didn't do what we should have done in the summer transfer market. We worked really badly in the market.”
Mancini's words could be interpreted as criticism of Brian Marwood, the club's former sporting director who has since switched to a role in charge of the Academy.
While Mancini is understandably frustrated by City's transfer woes, the Italian expects better recruitment before next season following the arrival of former Barcelona executives Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain.
“Ferran came from Barcelona and understands what it needs to be a top club. Txiki played football and knows football,” Mancini said.
“They are good men. For this reason, I am optimistic about our future. We now have people who know their football.”
Napoli striker Edinson Cavani and Atletico Madrid forward Radamel Falcao are likely to be among City's targets and Mancini revealed he is a big fan of both players.
“Cavani and Falcao would work in England,” he said. “They have experience. Both players are 26, 27. They are good enough to play in England.” – Sapa-AFP