Manchester City’s official website has reported that Roberto Mancini has been relieved his duties as Manchester City manager.
The statement said that the Club had “failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the exception of qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League.”
Assistant Manager Brian Kidd will take interim responsibility for the remaining two games of the season and the post-season tour to the United States.
The news comes a year to the day after Mancini led City to a memorable title victory on the last day of last season against QPR.
There was almost a sense of ironic symmetry after reports emerged prior to his departure that Mancini had left QPR’s training ground in London without the team, where City had been based in the lead-up to their game against Reading FC after staying in the capital following their shock FA Cup defeat against Wigan Athletic.
Mancini’s position was already under pressure after reports this year that City officials had met with the agent of Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini although the experienced Chilean manager issued a statement on the Malaga website categorically denying any deal had been struck for him to join Manchester City.
The season had already fallen short of the Italian’s own expectations after a succession of transfer targets were missed, most notably Robin Van Persie, who instead helped rivals Manchester United to reclaim the Barclays Premier League trophy that City so dramatically won last season. Other targets such as Javi Martinez and Daniele De Rossi were not bought either as the club struggled to cope with the impending FIFA Financial Fair Play Rules.
With alternative reinforcements generally not meeting with Mancini’s approval (Matija Nastasic aside), City struggled to make progress in the Champions League – failing to win a single game and finishing rock bottom of their group – while they also stumbled in the league due to a lack of goals as their strikers failed to reach the heights of last season and succumbed to a series of injuries.
The January departure of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan, accelerated following a training ground spat with Mancini, reduced City’s available firepower and no suitable forward signing was made to replace him.
Rumblings of discontent were rife in the City camp even before the eccentric Italian striker had made his exit and Mancini publicly laid the blame for this season’s failings at the door of a variety of officials at the club, culminating in a sequence of answers to questions post match press conference after the FA Cup defeat in which the Italian appeared to accuse City’s Director of Communications Vicky Kloss of not successfully nixing the Pellegrini rumours which had been growing all year.
It will remain to be seen if Pellegrini will come to City as Chelsea are also rumoured to be eyeing the experienced tactician and man-manager for a job which most people seem to believe will be Jose Mourinho’s after news emerged that Paris Saint Germain had rejected a bid by Real Madrid to hire manager Carlo Ancelotti to replace the Portuguese in the Real Madrid job this summer.
During Pellegrini’s time at Real Madrid, they recruited a number of star players including United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso and scored a club record points total of 96 for the season but were pipped to the title by a remarkable Barcelona team of 2010 who scored 99 points on their way to a stunning title win.
City fans have remained fiercely loyal to Mancini, the 14th permanent manager that Sir Alex Ferguson has seen off now in his tenure which has just one match to go but they will now have to wait to see who his permanent successor will be when City start the new season in August.