Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has dismissed suggestions his job is under threat and believes the FA Cup could reinvigorate his side.
It has been suggested the Italian could be sacked if City are beaten in the fifth round of the cup by Championship side Leeds tomorrow.
Speculation over Mancini’s future at the Etihad Stadium — a recurring issue — has resurfaced after City fell 12 points behind Manchester United at the top of the League last weekend.
With just 12 games remaining, City’s hopes of retaining the title are now slim and the cup is their most realistic route to silverware.
Former City defender Danny Mills has even said Mancini could be removed early next week if Leeds pull off a shock win.
Mancini said: “We started our project three years ago.
“In three years we are always on the top — we fight for the title, we won three trophies, we have the chance to win more this year.
“All the people who talk about this don’t understand football. Because if Manchester City should sack me, the other 20 teams in the Premier League should be without a manager.”
Mancini, however, accepts the club’s owners are not happy with City’s form.
Mancini said: “I speak with (chairman) Khaldoon (Al Mubarak) every week.
“He is like me. When we lose he has my mentality, he is upset and disappointed but this is normal and it’s correct in football.
“We have a good relationship. At this moment they aren’t happy because when you lose you can’t be happy but I think they are happy with our job over the three years.”
Mancini, who succeeded Mark Hughes in December 2009, ended City’s 35-year trophy drought by guiding them to FA Cup success in 2011.
He followed that by overseeing a first title win in 44 years last May.
Yet last weekend’s 3-1 loss at relegation battlers Southampton, which allowed United to pull further away, has further highlighted deficiencies which were evident in a poor Champions League campaign before Christmas.
Mancini is defiant but he does recognise tomorrow’s tie as highly important.
The 48-year-old said: “Now FA Cup is different.
“It is clear that it will not be easy because they (Leeds) beat Tottenham. I don’t think to play against Leeds is easy.
“In the FA Cup every game is difficult. This is another way to do better in the last three months, if it is possible, to play in the final.”
Mancini, who dismissed a link with Celtic’s Victor Wanyama, is also not willing to write off his side’s title hopes.
He said: “I do not think like this, never. I always think we can win everything.
“I have another mentality. We have 12 games, we need to do our best and not look at the table because it is not important now.
“We are a good team. We did some mistakes and lost some stupid points. We don’t deserve to stay 12 points behind but this is football.”
He added: Football sometimes it is strange.
“When you think it is finished, three or four games can change everything.
“While we have the points available to win, we should believe in ourselves.
“We play the derby in April and from now until then we have six games and we need to look at what happens in the next six games. It’s important to win, win, win.”
Leeds manager Neil Warnock, Mancini’s counterpart tomorrow, admits there will not be much money placed on his side to knock City out of the Cup, but feels all the ingredients are in place for his underdogs to give it their best shot.
Warnock’s side, who have struggled to mount a serious promotion challenge, have saved their best form for the cup competitions this season and have already beaten Southampton and Everton in the Capital One Cup and latterly Tottenham in the FA Cup to set up an intriguing fifth round clash at the Etihad Stadium.
He said: “I don’t think many people are going to put any money on us.
” It would be a major upset if we went there and won, but we’re looking forward to it.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved