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Manchester City Boss Roberto Mancini Faces The Axe

Courtesy Of Sky News
Manchester City are set to sack manager Roberto Mancini in the next few days after he failed to defend his team's Premier League title.

Sky News understands that City's Abu Dhabi-based owners have decided to end Mancini's three-year term as manager after losing faith in his ability to take the team forward.

The decision comes despite Mancini's central role last season in returning the English league title to City for the first time since 1968.

In his three years at the club City have not finished outside the top three in the Premier League and they won the FA Cup in 2011, ending a 43-year drought for the blue half of Manchester.

It is the failure to mount a credible defence of the league title, compounded by Saturday's defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup final, that has cost Mancini his job.

The owners have also become frustrated at the lack of progress in Europe, where despite investing hundreds of millions of pounds in wages and transfers fees, City have not progressed from the group stages under Mancini.

There has also been growing unrest among the players at Mancini's public criticism of them, and frustration at the performance of some of the Italian's transfer targets.

The decision to sack Mancini has been taken by the club's chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak on the advice of the new executive team, led by Spanish chief executive Ferran Soriano and his compatriot director of football Txiki Begiristain.

Club officials met with Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini last month and he has been closely linked with replacing Mancini, but on Monday morning he issued a statement denying that he has agreed a deal to take over at the Etihad.

He said: "I deny today that I am the new manager of Manchester City. I have not signed an agreement with anyone.

 "Every year I am linked with major clubs, and it's an honour, but I have an agreement with Malaga not to speak to anyone and I have made no deal with anyone else."

The decision to sack Mancini will focus attention on Abu Dhabi's stewardship of City.

Despite spending vast sums and racking up £300m in losses in the last two seasons they have always insisted that they are planning for the long term.

Sacking a man who has just finished second appears more comparable with the approach of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, who has a record of firing managers in a restless search for success.