Sven-Goran Eriksson has opted to remain silent on his future as Manchester City manager ahead of his imminent meeting with owner Thaksin Shinawatra in Bangkok.
The 60-year-old is poised to discuss his position with former Thai prime minister Thaksin as part of a performance review following City’s ninth-place finish in the Barclays Premier League.
It was City’s best performance since the 2004-05 season but Thaksin, who took over at Eastlands last summer, was reportedly unhappy with the showing in the second half of the campaign, which included defeats to relegated teams Birmingham and Reading and a loss to fourth-bottom Fulham.
Thaksin’s review is set to rumble on for at least another week, leaving the club in limbo, and Eriksson – in Thailand for the first leg of the club’s post-season promotional tour to Asia – has decided not to field questions from the media.
“The manager wants to make no comment,” director of communications Paul Tyrrell said. “He’s here for the football game on Saturday.”
Eriksson attended a carefully-choreographed press conference at a Bangkok shopping mall to launch the tour, making a short speech to thank the public and sponsors for welcoming the club to Thailand.
He then posed for photos with Thaksin’s son and daughter, Khun Panthongthae and Khun Pinthongta, who are directors of City, but declined to comment further.
Media were also denied the opportunity to ask questions to any of the three players in attendance, Dietmar Hamman, Kasper Schmeichel and Ben Mee, the captain of the FA Youth Cup-winning team.
The club insist it was Eriksson’s instruction that the players should not comment.
“The manager asked during this time of great forensic analysis of the football club for the players not to be doing interviews and not to be answering questions from the media,” Tyrrell added.
“It’s not something we specifically put into place for this event…it has been happening for a number of weeks.”
Tyrrell, who orchestrated the press conference, stressed Thaksin’s review incorporates all aspects of the club and confirmed the owner is likely to meet Eriksson in Bangkok.
“There’s probably an opportunity for him (Eriksson) to meet Dr Thaksin here in Bangkok,” added Tyrrell.
“That meeting will be part of the review, which is ongoing and won’t be finished at the end of our visit here in Bangkok.
“It will be a full review of every aspect of the club, not just in coaching staff, managerial… it’s the whole performance of the club.
“I’d envisage that the review would take another week at least. We are due back in England on Friday, May 23 so I’d imagine we’ll be coming towards the end of our review towards that time, maybe a little bit later than that.”
A squad of 18 have travelled from Manchester, with three Thai players signed last November but yet to play for the first team also in attendance.
City play Thailand Premier All-Stars on Saturday before travelling to the nearby resort of Pattaya. The tour then moves on Hong Kong next Tuesday for the second leg of the trip.