Mancini plays down pressure talk

Mancini plays down pressure talk

Published Feb. 27, 2010 2:10 a.m. ET

Manchester City chief Roberto Mancini has admitted nothing would come as a surprise after his treatment at Inter Milan.

Just two months into his reign at Eastlands, already major questions are being asked about the Italian.

Beaten in the Carling Cup semi-final by Manchester United, City saw their last remaining hopes of ending a 34-year trophy drought ended by Stoke in the FA Cup on Wednesday.

Having also suffered Premier League losses at Everton and Hull, and failed to beat Stoke with league points at stake after Tony Pulis' men had been reduced to 10 men, and abandoned the attacking style that had thrilled so many, City's cash-rich Abu Dhabi-based owners could be forgiven for wondering if the club's fortunes have improved after they sacked Mark Hughes.

Mancini could justifiably argue that he has hardly been given time to stamp his own authority on the Eastlands outfit, and that, with the exception of Patrick Vieira and Adam Johnson, he is working with a group of players he was not responsible for bringing to the club.

But the Italian knows from personal experience that rational thinking is not always used when it comes to making football decisions.

"I don't know," replied Mancini, when asked whether he needed to finish fourth in order to keep his job beyond the summer.

"I have a contract for three years after this first six months, but when you are a manager you never know.

"I lost my job at Inter after three titles and four cups in four years so anything is possible.

"But I want to win with this club and want to improve the squad. That is the important thing."

The immediate task is to make light of Emmanuel Adebayor's four-match ban and try to reclaim a top-four spot by beating current leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

A meeting between Wayne Bridge and John Terry is sure to heighten emotions prior to kick-off and Mancini can only take it on trust that his full-back will be mentally prepared for such a confrontation.

The loss of Adebayor will be keenly felt as Mancini was hoping to pair him with Carlos Tevez. Tevez is now back in the UK after dashing back to Argentina following the premature birth of his baby daughter.

"In the last two months I have had a lot of problems," said Mancini. "I have never had all the players.

"Carlos had to go home and Emmanuel has been playing very well. But now he can't play for four games.

"If we had Emmanuel and Carlos together, the results would have been different."

Results though, have not been good. With thoughts of a trophy now gone for another year, City are now focused on fourth spot.

But as they still have to face Tottenham, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Manchester United during a testing run-in, in addition to tomorrow's opponents, it will be tough to scramble up from their current fifth place.

However, after his time in Italy, it seems Mancini is impervious to pressure. "I don't feel pressure," he said.

"I worked at Inter for four years. After that it is impossible for me to feel pressure.

"I am disappointed because I wanted to win a trophy this season. "But now my focus is on fourth position - and we still have a good chance."

City's best hope tomorrow would appear to lie in Chelsea legs being tired following their midweek exertions with Mancini's former club Inter.

Watching his old team win that battle must have gladdened the heart, particularly as a long-time foe Carlo Ancelotti is now stationed in the Chelsea dug-out.

"I am happy to play against Carlo," said Mancini. "He has been my opponent many times in the last 30 years, as a player and a manager.

"He is a good manager and a good man. Now he has a top team."