LONDON: Manchester has lost another manager. With Sir Alex Ferguson retiring at Manchester United so neighbours City are also looking to replace Roberto Mancini writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
However the Italian, who virtually wrote his own death sentence after Saturday’s FA Cup Final upset by Wigan, has been sacked after three-and-a-half years of an increasingly fragile reign.
Mancini is the 15th City manager seen off by Ferguson who celebrated wresting the Premier League title back from City on an open-top bus tour of the centre of Manchester.
Speculation about Mancini’s future had been growing over the second half of the season and he complained on Saturday about the club’s failing to back him.
The reason became clear in the club’s own statement. City saw no reason to back him because, as a club statement said bleakly: “[He] failed to achieve any of the club’s targets, with the exception of qualification for next season’s Champions League.”
Assistant Brian Kidd will take charge for the final two games of the season and the summer tour to the United States. Malaga’s Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini is favourite to succeed Mancini though he has denied that any agreement has been concluded.
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, paying tribute to the success Mancini has achieved since replacing Mark Hughes, said: “Roberto’s record speaks for itself, he secured the love and respect of fans. He has done as he promised and delivered silverware and success.”
City added in their statement that it was “a difficult decision”, explaining it was “the outcome of a planned end of season review process that has been brought forward in light of recent speculation.”
The 48-year-old replaced Hughes in December 2009, winning the FA Cup in 2011 and City’s first top-flight league title for 44 years in 2012 – a year to the day before his sacking.
Last summer he signed a new five-year contract extension only for City to come a distant second to United in the league, exit the Champions League in the group stages and lost the FA Cup final to Wigan.
The club’s statement suggested other reasons for a parting of the ways.
The statement said: “[Failure to achieve targets] combined with an identified need to develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find a new manager for the 2013-14 season and beyond.”
Mancini’s man-management style has been a divisive issue with many senior players marginalised over the last three years and confusion evident over tactics.
City’s European failures have disappointed owners and fans. The furthest Mancini has ever progressed in Europe’s elite competition has been the quarter-finals with Inter Milan; his City have been eliminated in the group stages of both their campaigns during his reign.
Having finished third behind Bayern Munich and Napoli in 2011 they again failed to qualify this term, winning none of their six matches in a formidable group that also contained Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax.
Their tally of three points was the lowest by an English side in the group stage of the competition.