Mancini shrugs off sacking talk
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Feb 15, 2013 (AFP) - Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has mocked the suggestion that he could be sacked if he fails to deliver the FA Cup this season.
Mancini's side are 12 points adrift of city rivals United in the Premier League title race and failed to qualify from the Champions League group phase for the second successive year.
The Italian, who won the FA Cup in 2011 before winning the Premier League title last season, has previously boasted about his record of having won silverware in each of his full seasons as a manager.
Former City player Danny Mills has suggested that Mancini could be fired as soon as Thursday if his team are knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship side Leeds on Sunday.
Mancini joked about the criticism of former players, saying: "Probably the players that won a lot of trophies in the history."
But the former Lazio and Inter Milan coach maintains he is not fearing for his position despite his team's failings this season.
He 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 20 teams in the Premier League should be without a manager."
Mancini confirmed that Gareth Barry and Vincent Kompany would both miss the game against Neil Warnock's side with injuries.
A week ago, Mancini effectively conceded the title race after the 3-1 defeat at resurgent Southampton left his team a dozen points behind United.
But the Italian is adamant that the course of the Premier League could still change in the space of a couple of weeks.
He said: "I think that is a difficult moment because we lost seven points in three games but in 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.
"It is better to stay on the top than in second position, eight, nine, 10 points behind. We didn't play well in the last two games, Liverpool and Southampton, and we deserved to lose points.
"We have 12 games. We need to do our best, 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 United deserve to stay on top at this moment but at the moment we will see what happens."
Mancini questioned his team's courage and commitment after the loss at St Mary's last weekend and threatened to drop a host of his players against Leeds.
But a week on he said: "After we lose one game for me it is normal. For Englishmen maybe not but if I lose one game and we do some mistakes, I can be upset with myself and my players. This is normal. After 24 hours it is gone."