Manchester City: Does Mancini still have a future at City?
Manchester City have given themselves a mountain to climb if they are to retain their Premier League title this season. Roberto Mancini's men lost only their third league game of the season at the weekend away at Southampton, but it has left City 12 points behind their old rivals United with 12 games to play.
This season City have been dumped out of Champions League, failed to even qualify for the Europa League and have failed to reproduce the sintalating form that saw them win the top flight for the first time since 1968.
So in this day and age of cut-throat management does Roberto Mancini still have a future at the Etihad? There's no question that the fans love him - he's guided the club to FA Cup and Premier League glory - but the owners want more. For the amount of money they have given him he would have been expected to make a much bigger impression on the European scene. With former Chelsea and current Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho reportedly looking for a return to England in the summer, could the Special One be about to replace Mancini again like he did at Inter Milan?
Bigger men then Mancini have been axed for lesser things than him. Despite winning back-to-back league titles at Chelsea and putting the club back on the map, a poor start in his fourth season saw Mourinho dismissed by Roman Abramovich. While Roberto Di Matteo was axed despite bringing the Champions League trophy back to Stamford Bridge. But City fans would like to think they have a much more level-headed chief in Sheikh Mansour. But maybe it's time for some new blood to come in and freshen things up at City.
Does Mancini still have a future at City? I've asked a few of our pundits for their views.
"Yes, but I would think a very short one, possibly 12/13 games. Everything about him, his body language and the fretful performance of his team, suggest that Man City are going to have to change managers at the end of this season."
"Quite simply, no. It will be impossible to escape the axe after another lame Champions League effort and a dismal league campaign. Mancini has repeatedly shown a certain ineptitude for deploying formations that his players are unfamiliar."
"Not past the end of the season. This campaign can hardly be considered a success for Manchester City and Mancini, and with the large gap at the top of the table it is highly unlikely that City will win the league. The manager has failed to build on his title winning side of last season, and this may be down to the lack of backing from the owners in the last two transfer windows. They would have expected City to surge on and perhaps walk the league and put up a good fight in Europe this season. This hasn’t happened and I think the lack of trophies will see Mancini leave the Eithad at the end of the season."
"Mancini's future at City should surely be non-negotiable. The powers-that-be at City are attempting to emulate their neighbours and surely they will recognise that United's success is only a result from stability, from the bottom up. Mancini brought City recognition, as well as success, and City should not be confused with Chelsea. Mancin is safe."
"I will be surprised if Mancini makes it until the end of the season. He looks jaded to me and watching him at yesterday's game I sort of get the feeling that he has lost interest and is almost resigned to his fate. He brought the title to city but I think they need to change coach in order to move on to the next level."