By John Stammers
Former Liverpool and Real Madrid star Steve McManaman believes Manchester City should stick with Roberto Mancini regardless of whether or not they beat Wigan in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
City head into the clash at Wembley having already lost their Premier League crown to rivals Manchester United, while they also exited the Champions League at the group stages and lost in the third round of the Capital One Cup earlier in the season.
And while the ex-England midfielder, who ended his career with a short spell at Eastlands, wouldn't be overly shocked if the Italian was sacked he insisted the 48-year-old should, and probably will, be given more time.
"Not particularly, no," the ESPN analyst told Goal.com when asked if Mancini's future should depend on winning the FA Cup.
"Nobody knows what plans the owners have got. [Mancini] is one year into a six-year deal, if he was sacked - regardless of whether the owners have got £100 billion or not - they would have to give him the most incredible pay-off.
"They seem to be very level headed and pragmatic owners. They want to get the job done, they want to invest and they want to do things correctly. They don't seem like a hire-and-fire-him type of ownership.
"It wouldn't surprise me either way what will happen, but I don't think it will necessarily all depend on Saturday's result. They probably see the bigger picture, which is the Premier League and the Champions League."
However, the 41-year-old suggested the club's owners will be expecting more prestigious honours in the future, and are likely to be disappointed with this season even if Mancini does bring them the trophy on Saturday.
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"They need to win because they're Manchester City and becuase of the investment they've had. To make [the season] a success? To a certain extent yes, but it's not as successful as last year and that will be disappointing for the Manchester City fans and probably the Manchester City staff.
"Manchester City are aiming for bigger and better things than just the FA Cup. They want to win the league every single year, and they want to win the Champions League eventually. I don't think they'll be thinking this year is a success because they might win the FA Cup."
Meanwhile, the Latics have been forced to balance their preparations for the final alongside an ongoing battle against relegation, and McManaman is confident their Premier League status is of higher importance.
"It will be a wonderful occasion for them to win [the FA Cup], but they'd swap it for survival, of course they would," he added.
"If they stay up it will be marvellous again, and the fact that they've had an FA Cup run is fantastic but I think they will quite happily lose on Saturday to stay in the Premier League."
And even if they were to suffer relegation to the Championship, the former midfielder reckons there is no way manager Roberto Martinez will lose his job.
"Of course [they should keep him if they go down], he's a fantastic manager," he said. "There's no way Dave Whelan will sack Roberto, no way on this planet.
"Roberto's stock has probably risen because he has got to the FA Cup final. I think going down will have no detrimental effect on him.
"The one thing about Roberto is that he's got a wonderful owner in Dave Whelan who is not one of those people that will make rash decisions because of relegation. He knows the situation they're in."
ESPN will broadcast the FA Cup Final live on Saturday with all-day coverage beginning at 8am, including advert-free coverage of the match from 4.45pm until the trophy presentation. Click here for details.