Sven-Goran Eriksson returns from Manchester City’s post-season tour of Asia today with his fate set to be revealed.
The Swede’s future as manager has been the subject of intense speculation since it emerged City owner Thaksin Shinawatra was conducting a review of the club.
Former England boss Eriksson has declined to comment on the situation throughout the promotional tour of Asia, which included a 3-1 loss to Thailand Premier All-Stars in Bangkok and last night’s 3-1 defeat to a South China Invitational XI in Hong Kong – a game which could prove to be his last in charge.
The first of those losses was played out in front of Thaksin, with the dire display expected to deepen the former Thai prime minister’s ire after an elaborate attempt to provoke the Thai public to adopt the Blues as their Barclays Premier League team.
Eriksson, however, focused on a summer holiday following a gruelling first season as a Premier League manager despite the imminent completion of Thaksin’s dossier.
“It has been a very, very long season for all of us, especially for a lot of young players and a lot of new players in the Premier League,” he said.
“I think everybody looks forward to a break now.”
The 60-year-old, who has two years remaining on his contract at Eastlands, led City to a ninth-placed finish – their best campaign for three seasons – and secured an UEFA Cup spot via the Fair Play League, an achievement which could yet earn him a reprieve from Thaksin.
Eriksson insists the future is bright at Eastlands after giving five of the FA Youth Cup-winning side their first tastes of first-team football on tour.
Kieran Trippier, Andrew Tutte, David Ball, Ryan McGivern and Ben Mee all travelled on tour in the absence of a number of regulars, who remained in Europe due to injuries and international call-ups.
The five could all have an impact on the first team next term, according to Eriksson.
“City has always had good young players and the youth team won the FA Youth Cup, beating Chelsea, and the future is good,” he said.
“In the squad, I believe that someone has the chance, but I suppose it depends very much on pre-season.
“One or two, maybe all of them, will have the chance in the future.”
Eriksson declined to offer a hint if he will be in charge for pre-season, but he maintained the tour was useful despite the absence of many of his top players.
“I think it was very useful for the young players we have – it’s good for them,” he said.