Afternoon Ticker: Mancini targets top four, Guardiola's future uncertain and more

Afternoon Ticker: Mancini targets top four, Guardiola's future uncertain and more

European Soccer

Afternoon Ticker: Mancini targets top four, Guardiola's future uncertain and more

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Roberto Mancini 1 (Getty Images) 

by FRANCO PANIZO

Manchester City officially introduced Roberto Mancini as its new manager on Monday, and the Italian is ready to take the Premier League by storm.

Mancini, who agreed to a three-and-a-half-year deal with City, is eyeing a top four finish this season, and hopes to win the Premiership in 2010-2011. While his lofty aspirations are sure to come with their fair share of pressure, Mancini said he does not feel a burden, and credited his four-year stint with Inter Milan in 2004-2008 for that.

Mancini was also sympathetic towards his predecessor, Mark Hughes, who was fired on Dec. 19 following Manchester City's 4-3 win at home over Sunderland.

Here are some more stories from Monday:

Guardiola's Barcelona future unclear

FC Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has been arguably the most successful manager over the past 18 months, leading his team to an unprecedented six trophies in that span, but Guardiola may not return to the club for the 2010-2011 season.

Guardiola's contract with the Spanish giants expires at season's end, and the 38-year-old has yet to reveal his plans, casting a shadow of doubt over his future with the club. Club president Joan Laporta believes Guardiola wants to continue as Barcelona manager, but that he wants to carefully think it over before making a decision.

England schedule Egypt friendly

If U.S. national team fans want to get a look at World Cup opponent England at full strength before the World Cup, then the Three Lions' upcoming friendly against Egypt should suffice.

England has scheduled a friendly against Egypt at Wembley Stadium on March 3, the only official FIFA date prior to the World Cup. The game will give England an opportunity to fine tune itself, while also providing a test against an African foe.

England, who opens up their World Cup against the United States on June 12, also plays Algeria and Slovenia in Group C.

Almeria fire Hugo Sanchez

Former Mexico national team head coach Hugo Sanchez is now former Almeria head coach too.

Sanchez was relieved of his duties from the La Liga club on Monday after losing to Espanyol, 2-0, this past weekend, the club's fourth loss in its past fives games. Almeria currently sit one point above the relegation zone.

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What do you think of Mancini's goals? Do you see Guardiola staying with Barcelona? Like the England-Egypt match? Where will Sanchez wind up next?

Share your thoughts below.

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