Manchester City fired manager Mark Hughes on Saturday and hired former Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini.

Manchester City fired manager Mark Hughes on Saturday and immediately hired former Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini in an effort to turn an expensively assembled squad into title challengers.

Hughes had lost just two matches this season after the team spent about $330 million US on new players in a year. But the club's wealthy owner was dissatisfied with a string of draws that had left City sixth in the Premier League standings.

Hughes managed the team to a 4-3 victory over Sunderland on Saturday before the announcement, but his fate had been sealed by a 3-0 loss at Tottenham on Wednesday.

"A return of two wins in 11 Premier League games is clearly not in line with the targets that were agreed and set," chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement less than two hours after the final whistle.

"[Owner] Sheikh Mansour and the board felt that there was no evidence that the situation would fundamentally change."

Hughes had been in charge since June last year and had the backing of Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour, who bought the club in September 2008.

Turning to Italians for help a new trend

City is following the latest trend in English football of turning to an Italian to revive its fortunes.

The 45-year-old Mancini will be looking to emulate Fabio Capello, whose England side breezed through qualification to the 2010 World Cup, and Carlo Ancelotti, who has returned Chelsea to the top of the league.

Mancini, whose only experience in England was a four-game spell as a Leicester player in 2001, had been out of work since leaving Inter in 2008 after steering the Italian club to its third consecutive Serie A title.

He will be assisted by Brian Kidd, the former City and Man United player who had been serving under Hughes in a technical development role.

"Roberto is a hugely experienced manager with a proven track record of winning trophies and championships," Al Mubarak said.

"His experience and track record speak for themselves. What is absolutely clear is that Roberto believes in Manchester City's potential to achieve at the highest level and importantly in his own ability to make this happen."