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Football | Barclays Premier League

Mancini rants over Pellegrini link



Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini turned the air blue on Friday as speculation continued over his future with the Premier League champions.

Mancini signed a five-year deal, worth £7.5 million a year, less than 12 months ago as reward for guiding City to the title, but his future beyond the end of this season is now uncertain.

City, who face a tough test against Chelsea on Sunday, start the weekend 12 points behind leaders Manchester United and that gap will be widened, for 24 hours at least, to 15 points should Alex Ferguson's side win at bottom club QPR on Saturday.

With City already out of the Champions League, speculation is mounting that the club's Abu Dhabi-based owners may decide to sack Mancini.

In the circumstances, the last thing Mancini needed was to hear reports from Chile this week claiming that Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini has been approached to replace the Italian at Eastlands.

And when asked about the Pellegrini link at a press conference in Manchester on Friday, Mancini responded in angry fashion.

"F*****g hell! I can't continue to answer (these questions) every week. We have another two months and in two months you know what can happen," he said.

When the reporter apologised for asking the question, Mancini added: "This is normal for you, it's your job, don't worry, but I can't continue to answer each week about one (manager) or another.

"But also because I don't understand this. Why would Manchester City change their manager?

"After the FA Cup (victory over Leeds last Sunday) I said that in the last 18 months since Manchester United won the Premier League, there were seven trophies (to play for) and Manchester City won three of these seven trophies.

"For this reason I don't understand the speculation about my future. I'm not the CEO or chairman, if you want to ask these questions, ask them. I have four more years on my contract, I think I'm doing well, I am happy here.

"We want to try to do this (win trophies), but sometimes it's not possible. It's important our team is always there on the top and fights for the title.

"Sometimes we can do a mistake or sometimes the other team could be better than us. This is possible."

Chelsea, who start the weekend third in the table, are just four points behind City but Mancini, despite the gap United have opened up, insists winning the title remains his priority in the last 12 games.

"It's difficult to win all 12 games in a row in the Premier League, but we will try," he said. "Our target is to win the Premier League, not to finish second.

"We should hope that they (United) can lose points between now and the derby (on April 8). Only with this will we have a chance of winning this title."

There was more bad news for Mancini on Friday as he revealed captain Vincent Kompany may not be fit to face Chelsea after missing the last four matches with a calf problem.

"We will see," said Mancini. "It's taking longer than we thought. The calf is a strong injury because it's hard to recover from this. Sometimes you think it's OK."

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