Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Robert Mancini axed by Manchester City as Manchester United celebrate

Italian fired exactly one year after City's finest hour

Roberto Mancini's Manchester City are a huge 13 points adrift of champions Manchester United
Roberto Mancini's Manchester City are a huge 13 points adrift of champions Manchester United

Manchester City marked the first anniversary of their dramatic 2012 Premier League title triumph by sacking manager Roberto Mancini.

As the red half of Manchester celebrated wrestling the crown from their cross-city rivals with an open top bus parade, those on the blue side were were hit with the news that the only manager to lead them to silverware in the last 37 years had been fired.

Last season's league success wasn't enough to keep Mancini in a job. A statement released by the club said that he had 'failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the exception of qualification for next season's Champions League.'

The Italian is expected to be replaced by Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini, who was linked with the job on the eve of Saturday's FA Cup final against Wigan.

City failed to repeat their 2011 Wembley triumph, but even winning silverware for the third season in succession wouldn't have been enough for the club's Abu Dhabi owners to stick with Mancini (pictured) as boss.

His three-and-a-half-year reign came to an end less than 24 hours before City face Reading in the Premier League this evening. Assistant boss Brian Kidd will take charge of the team.

A victory for the Blues will clinch second place in the table behind United, but it is clear that the Middle East billionaires who are in control won't settle for second best.

Mancini had claimed that speculation he was to be sacked was 'rubbish' immediately after City's Wembley defeat to Wigan.

Pellegrini yesterday denied that a deal had been done, but he was 1/10 favourite for the job even before the weekend.

The statement from City said: "It is with regret that Manchester City Football Club announces that Roberto Mancini has been relieved of his duties as Manchester City manager.

"This has been a difficult decision for the owner, chairman and board and it is the outcome of a planned end of season review process that has been brought forward in light of recent speculation and out of respect for Roberto and his extensive contributions to the club.

"Despite everyone's best efforts, the club has failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the exception of qualification for next season's Champions League campaign.

"This, 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."

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was quoted in the statement as saying: "Roberto's record speaks for itself and he has the respect and gratitude of Sheikh Mansour, myself and the board for all of his hard work and commitment over the last three and a half years.

"He has clearly also secured the love and respect of our fans. He has done as he promised and delivered silverware and success, breaking the Club's 35-year trophy drought and securing the title in 2012.

"I would like to personally and publicly thank him for his dedication to the progress that he has overseen and for his support and continued friendship."

Mancini – who took over from Mark Hughes in December 2009 – becomes the 15th City manager to lose his job during the 26-year reign of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.