Mancini rubbishes job speculation
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini remains defiant in the face of fresh speculation over his future at the Etihad Stadium.
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The Italian has regularly been the subject of stories suggesting he could be removed throughout his three-year tenure and is not perturbed by claims this weekend's clash with Leeds is make or break.
Having fallen 12 points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United with just 12 games remaining, the champions' most realistic route to silverware now appears to come via the FA Cup.
That has placed extra emphasis on the fifth-round visit of Championship side Leeds but Mancini has rubbished suggestions he could be sacked if City lose.
He said: "I don't know what I should say about this. We started our project three years ago.
"We won the Premier League maybe too quickly because usually it is four or five years for a team like City to do this.
"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."
He accepts the club's owners cannot be happy with the faltering title defence but, as he regularly speaks to chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, is confident he still has their backing.
He said: "I speak with Khaldoon every week.
"He is like me. When we lost he has my mentality, he is upset and disappointed but this is normal and it's correct in football.
"After you lose you can't be happy for 24 hours but after that you need to think about the future.
"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 expects a response from his team as they look to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
He said: "I think that the players know they didn't do their job at Southampton and sometimes it is important they take the responsibility.
"I think that we have some players that can do better than this year but I am sure I have a good team and at the end of it we will win something.
"It will be different because it's the FA Cup but it won't change for us because results are always important and there is always pressure.
"The players will respond, I'm sure about this."
As for the title race, Mancini claims it is not in his nature to concede defeat.
He said: "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.
"If we reduce the gap before the derby... but it's not important to look at the table. It's important to win, win, win."