LONDON • Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak has warned manager Manuel Pellegrini that the club's on-field performances must echo their off-field success after City recorded a profit for the first time under Sheikh Mansour's ownership.
Having posted losses of £197 million (S$421 million) just four years ago, City announced a £10.7 million profit for 2014-15 on Wednesday in what Ferran Soriano, the chief executive, described as a "historic step" for the club.
City's turnover increased to £351.8 million for the year ending May 31, 2015, meaning that revenues have more than quadrupled since Mansour bought the club seven years ago. Only Manchester United, whose income for 2014-15 fell from £433 million to £395.2 million after their failure to qualify for last season's Champions League, have a bigger turnover in British football.
Yet, there was a warning from al-Mubarak that results on the pitch would have to improve after Pellegrini's team failed to deliver silverware last season.
They finished eight points behind Chelsea in the title race, were eliminated prematurely from both domestic cup competitions and lost to Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16.
MAN CITY: FROM ENGLISH RECORD LOSS TO PROFIT
City spent about £150 million this summer on Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts as part of an overhaul of the squad in their bid to atone for the disappointment last term.
"No team can expect to win every year but competing to win in England's domestic competitions and improving our performance in the Champions League are entirely reasonable goals," al-Mubarak said.
"The desire for silverware has always been a critical element of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's strategy for the reinvigoration of Manchester City, both on and off the pitch. It is a strategy predicated on long-term sustainability and the ongoing development of momentum year after year.
"The fact that we consider last season to be below par for Manchester City is a testament to how far we have come in the last seven years. This is a level of ambition that we should not shirk or shy away from."
Those sentiments were echoed by Soriano and will have left Pellegrini, who signed a contract extension in August to tie him to the club until the end of next season, under no illusions about the expectations.
City host Bournemouth in the Premier League tomorrow. And striker Wilfried Bony is ready to shoulder the goal-scoring burden in the absence of injured star Sergio Aguero as the club seek to cement their lead at the top of the table.
Bony, who arrived from Swansea City for a reported £28 million last season, has started just five games in 10 months at the Etihad Stadium.
"It's never good when your team-mates are injured but that's the way football goes sometimes," the Ivorian told the club's website.
"Now, I need to take things game by game and work hard. I have to take my chance and score goals for the team - that's why I'm here."
The 26-year-old has found it tough to break into the starting side due to the form of Aguero.
His progress has also been hampered by injuries that restricted him to two goals in 19 appearances.
"A lot of crazy things have happened since I joined City and I've been ruled out with injury three or four times so it's been hard to find any rhythm playing one or two games here and there," he said.
"All I need is the first goal to come and, hopefully, many others will follow."
THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS