Chief executive Garry Cook has revealed that Manchester City did offer Roberto Mancini the manager's job at Eastlands before Mark Hughes was sacked.
Hughes was axed on Saturday evening just hours after his side defeated Sunderland 4-3 at the City of Manchester Stadium.
His future had been the subject of intense speculation for weeks following a run of eight successive Premier League draws which had left the ambitious club outside the top six.
Reports had claimed that both former Internazionale coach Mancini and ex-Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink were both potential replacements.
But although denying that a deal had been in the pipeline for weeks, Cook did reveal that an approach was made to Mancini after City lost to Tottenham on December 16.
"The decision to seriously look at other managerial options was taken just three weeks ago following the Hull City game (November 28)," he said during an often bad-tempered press conference.
"I think it is important to know that Roberto was only offered the job after the Spurs game.
"We negotiated on Thursday, finalised an agreement on Friday and he was not in the stadium on Saturday as was falsely reported.
"The intention was to tell Mark immediately after the game on Saturday. That would give Roberto and his team a full week to prepare for the next game.
"Regrettably, and despite our best efforts, rumours of discussions with Roberto Mancini became public before the game."
Meanwhile, Mancini has revealed that he hopes to lead City into the Champions League this season via a top-four finish.
Hughes had been set a top-six target after spending more than £200million of the club's Abu Dhabi-based owners fortune on new players during his 18 months in the hot-seat.
"I think that I can do a good job because we have good players," said the Italian.
"My target is to arrive in the top four. That is my target, I think it is possible.
"I think, and hope, to stay here for many years and I want to win many trophies. City has great supporters and I hope we do a good job for them."