Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Mancini phlegmatic amid Pellegrini talk

Roberto Mancini's future has been under intense scrutiny

Roberto Mancini leads Manchester City into another FA Cup final today with speculation once again surrounding his future.

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is again being linked with Mancini's position even though the Italian could win a third major trophy in three seasons with victory over Wigan at Wembley. Mancini has been the subject of scrutiny throughout a generally disappointing campaign in which City have failed to defend their Barclays Premier League title.

Pellegrini has been mentioned a number of times as a potential successor in recent months and reports that director of football Txiki Begiristain dined with the Chilean's agent last month fuelled the rumours.

Several other names have also been mentioned as possible City managers this season but Mancini, to his credit, has brushed off all the conjecture and regularly voiced his confidence about the project ahead. Yet even he accepted, on the eve of the cup final, that his profession can be a precarious one.

"I won seven trophies at Inter in four years and they sacked me after four years," said the 48-year-old, at his pre-match press conference. "This is football. I know football enough to understand this situation."

Mancini has previously said winning the cup and finishing second in the table, although not the prime objectives at the start of the season, would still represent a respectable campaign. After all, the club had not won a trophy in 35 years prior to the 2011 FA Cup victory and last season's title triumph was a first in 44 years.

Mancini, who signed a five-year contract last summer, said: "I only want to do my job well, if it is possible, and continue to win every year. This is my target. I think it is important for every club to have a manager who can take a lot of decisions about the team, but now it is important we win this trophy."

City are odds-on favourites against Wigan, whose progress to the final has been overshadowed by their battle against relegation. But despite their struggles, Roberto Martinez's men have a reputation for playing good football and even outplayed City for large spells of their meeting at Eastlands last month only to lose to a late goal.

Mancini said: "Every game we play against Wigan we have had a problem. We never win easy. First of all, they try to play football, always. Also, when they are losing a game, they continue to play football because they want to attack with a lot of players, and when they attack they are very dangerous.

"Never do they stay back too deep to defend the result. They don't play only counter-attack, they play football, they play to win."

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