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Mancini makes winning City start

Mancini gives the thumbs up as his new team claimed a 2-0 win at Eastlands.
Mancini gives the thumbs up as his new team claimed a 2-0 win at Eastlands.
  • Manchester City win first match under new manager Roberto Mancini
  • Goals from Martin Petrov and Carlos Tevez secure 2-0 victory over Stoke
  • Mancini singles out goalkeeper Shay Given for special praise after the win
  • Italian took over from sacked Mark Hughes in controversial circumstances last Saturday

(CNN) -- Roberto Mancini made a winning start to his reign as Manchester City manager as his new charges beat Stoke City 2-0 at Eastlands on Saturday.

Mancini's controversial arrival in place of the sacked Mark Hughes dominated the pre-match build up, but his team responded with a comfortable win as Martin Petrov and Carlos Tevez scored the crucial goals.

Mancini gave a start to record signing Robinho and it proved the only blot on an otherwise perfect day for the Italian as he was forced to replace him in the second half with the City fans giving a ringing endorsement to substitute Craig Bellamy.

City take huge gamble on Mancini

Robinho had made a hash of a simple chance but fortunately for him and City, the ball fell to Bulgarian midfielder Petrov to put the home side ahead after 28 minutes.

The tireless Tevez scored the second in first half stoppage time as he got a touch to Gareth Barry's header to lift the ball over Thomas Sorensen.

Other goals should have followed in the second half as City dominated, but Mancini, who has promised a top-four finish to bring Champions League football next season, will have been satisfied with his team's display.

"I am very happy because we've won a hard match and I said thank you to the players because they are fantastic," he told Sky Sports News.

Mancini, draped in a scarf of City's colors, was also pleased with his reception from the club's supporters.

"Our fans are the 12th player on the pitch," he added

I said thank you to the players because they are fantastic
--Roberto Mancini

They stay in sixth place, a point adrift of fifth-placed Tottenham, but with a game in hand, and three points behind Aston Villa in fourth.

City have lost just two games this season, but a string of draws under Hughes undermined his position and he was sacked despite a 4-3 home win over Sunderland last Saturday.

Mancini, who led Inter Milan to three Serie A titles, is also promising to bring the Premier League to the light blues and will have the backing of his Abu-Dhabi owners to spend freely in pursuit of that dream.

Defensive frailties have undermined City this season and after Petrov's fortunate opener it needed a superb save from goalkeeper Shay Given to keep out Tuncay.

Mancini, perhaps mindful of reports, fiercely denied by City chief executive Garry Cook of a player rebellion with Given involved, paid special tribute to the Irish star.

"For me, he is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League," he said.

Once Tevez had scored the second, the home side were more comfortable and Bellamy should have won a penalty as the Welshman was barged over by Robert Huth, but referee Lee Mason ignored his pleas.