By Greg Stobart
Steve McManaman believes Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is fighting for his job ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash against Leeds United.
City’s chances of retaining their Premier League title look beyond reach as they sit a massive 12 points behind league leaders Manchester United, while Mancini has already faced questions over the club’s exit in the Champions League group stage earlier this season.
Ahead of the FA Cup fifth round visit of Leeds this weekend, McManaman feels City have regressed since last season and is unsure about the stability of the Italian’s job at the Etihad Stadium, particularly given the appointments of Spaniards Feran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain to the club’s board in the last 12 months.
“Mancini is certainly under pressure,” McManaman told Goal.com. “The owners of the club have built a platform of success and they want to see that improved - or at least sustained.
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“I don’t know what the future holds for Mancini but it could come down to what is relationship is like with Soriano and Begiristain.
“If they don’t win the FA Cup, he will be looking over his shoulder and even if they do you wouldn’t be surprised if City make a change in the summer.
“To win the FA Cup in 2011, the Premier League last year and then nothing this year would be a big disappointment, especially when you throw in the very poor displays in the Champions League.
“The owners will decide whether or not it makes the season a failure but there’s talk of big-name managers like Jose Mourinho being available so it will be an interesting one.”
McManaman, who played for City between 2002 and 2005, is surprised by the club’s performances this season and believes they are suffering for their failures in the transfer market last summer, with new signings Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Javi Garcia only on the fringes of the squad.
“I thought City would improve after last season because last year they had a lot of turmoil - for example with Carlos Tevez - but they still won the league,” McManaman added.
“That hasn’t happened. I certainly think they invested badly last summer - they didn’t improve their squad enough.
“They’ve filled up their bench but players like Rodwell and Sinclair were not the type of signings to push them on.
“To be 12 points behind Manchester United is a monstrous number of points at this stage of the season.
McManaman is an ESPN analyst for this weekend’s FA Cup matches and expects his former club to beat Leeds at home, but has warned they could be in for a nervous afternoon if they fail to score an early goal.
He said: “To be very honest I see City winning quite comfortably in the end because they are normally strong at the Etihad.
“Leeds need to play like they did against Tottenham in the last round and keep City scoreless for as long as possible. Then the crowd might get a bit twitchy and that will transmit to the players on the pitch.
“City have been second best lately against Liverpool and Southampton so they need a response this weekend. They will want to score some early goals to relax.”
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