Soccer

Thursday 31 July 2014

Silence is deafening at City

Published 13/05/2013|16:32

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Roberto Mancini could be on his way out of Manchester City

Manchester City have maintained a silence throughout another day of intense speculation over the future of manager Roberto Mancini.

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Rumours the Italian is about to be axed and replaced with Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini have gathered momentum since Friday, the eve of City's shock FA Cup final loss to Wigan. Mancini hit out at City officials for failing to extinguish the speculation after that humbling defeat at Wembley but there has been no comment from the club since.

City have remained in London since the weekend to train ahead of Tuesday's fixture at Reading in the Barclays Premier League. Reporters and TV crews have been based outside the team hotel and at QPR's Loftus Road ground, where City have trained, during the day.

Mancini did not stop to speak as he headed for training with the team, or when he left separately afterwards. The mood contrasts sharply with that of exactly a year ago, when City beat QPR in thrilling fashion to win the Barclays Premier League.

Mancini was rewarded with a five-year contract after that victory but his failure to build on last season's achievements has seen his position come under regular scrutiny. City were unable to sustain a credible title defence and they slumped out of the Champions League at the group stage for a second successive season.

Pellegrini's name has been one of several linked with City in the light of their disappointments but, until now, Mancini has always brushed off the speculation. He has spoken with confidence about his job security based on the progress he has overseen at the club since his appointment in 2009, but the loss to Wigan has been another blow.

And even though results do still look healthy for a club that had not won a trophy in 35 years prior to their FA Cup success in 2011, there have been other difficulties this season.

Comments from Mancini relating to Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Samir Nasri and even influential captain Vincent Kompany have attracted criticism and may not have helped dressing room harmony.

Mancini was also criticised for indulging controversial striker Mario Balotelli, who left the club in January, for too long.

Despite the rumours, Pellegrini has denied he has an agreement in place with City. The Chilean's agent was reported to have met with City director of football Txiki Begiristain last month. He has made it known he is to leave the club at the end of the season but has dismissed City talk.

Press Association

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