Kidd stunned by Mancini exit

Manuel Pellegrini remains overwhelming favourite to become Manchester City manager following the sacking of Roberto Mancini – a move that came as a surprise to players and staff.

The Italian saw his three-and-a-half-year reign at the Etihad Stadium brought to an abrupt end on Monday – a year to the day after bringing City their first league title in 44 years.

It was also announced yesterday that assistant manager David Platt, who was offered the chance to stay on, had decided to join Mancini in leaving.

Failure to retain the Barclays Premier League crown and a poor showing in the Champions League pushed Mancini towards the exit door, with Saturday’s surprise FA Cup final defeat to Wigan proving the final straw.

Malaga coach Pellegrini is favourite to replace the former Inter Milan boss, having been heavily linked with City since rumours of Mancini’s demise began to surface.

Despite such reports, the sacking came as a shock to his assistant Brian Kidd, who last night oversaw a 2-0 win at relegated Reading.

“What has gone on in the last 24 hours was a shock to the staff, and before the game I would have just taken the result, to get the three points and take second place,” he said.

“It’s all credit to the players – they are the ones who have had to put up with stuff off the pitch.

“I am pleased for them because it would have been a travesty if we hadn’t finished second.

“I was asked to take charge for two games, and, being a Manchester lad, I couldn’t say no. I wouldn’t have been able to walk down Market Street if I had.

“You’d have to ask the players how they feel. We appreciate the fans, and they were disappointed, and we were disappointed, on Saturday.

“What you’ve seen is a combination of a couple of things, but I think it was a relief because it has been a tough 48 hours.”

Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko scored the all-important goals at a rain-sodden Madejski Stadium last night.

The win ensured runners-up spot with a game to spare and was a welcome return to winning ways after the disappointment of losing at Wembley.

“To be honest, the three points was the most important thing,” caretaker boss Kidd added.

“When you get to this stage of the season it’s not about performances, but getting results and it was on my mind that we needed to seal that second spot in the league.

“That’s the least we could do, and the staff, the fans and the players did it for the club.

“I was pleased with the way the players acknowledged the fans, but those players really appreciated it.

“There were 1,300 of them at Reading, disappointed after Wembley, but they turned out and you could hear them.

“The players and the backroom staff have been terrific.”

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