Roberto Rigamarole: With Di Matteo Gone, Mancini Is Skating on Thin Ice

Adrian Agius@@agius2nvAnalyst INovember 22, 2012

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 20:  Roberto Mancini of Manchester City faces the media during a press conference at Carrington Training Ground on November 20, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Who would have thought that winning the UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League was enough to put your respective jobs at risk.

Well, for Roberto Di Matteo, that risk became a reality when Chelsea Football Club "parted ways" with the Italian manager. Despite guiding Chelsea to their first ever Champions League title, Di Matteo now finds himself looking for a new job—and Andre Villas Boas is on red alert at Tottenham.

With Di Matteo gone, all the attention now turns to Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. The former Inter Milan manager delivered English Premier League title to Eastlands in dramatic fashion last season. However, a dismal Champions League campaign has seen City fail to qualify for the Round of 16—bringing Mancini's coaching into question.

It was somewhat perfectly scripted this weekend—prior to Di Matteo's sacking—two struggling EPL managers going head-to-head in the league. I use the term struggling loosely, because let's face it, both sides are in the top three of the league—hardly a struggle. Instead, it will be Mancini up against a coach trying to prove something, Rafael Benitez. 

With Pep Guardiola lurking in the woods, Mancini will certainly be wanting to record a statement win this weekend, effectively forcing Chelsea to play catch-up for the rest of the season. The reality is, for as long as City remain at the summit of the Premier League, Mancini's job at the club is safe. Sacking a manager who is in prime position to deliver any title to the club would be considered a travesty—not to mention the amount of pressure it would heap on the succeeding manager.

It is no secret that Guardiola turned down an approach to coach at Stamford Bridge, but could the former Barcelona manager be tempted into accepting a role at City. Combine a lucrative contract with the opportunity to manage some of the best players in the world and there is potential for a deal to be done. How soon though? Only time will tell.

Roberto Mancini maintains that the owners of Manchester City are not disappointed with the failure to progress through to Round of 16. According to, Mancini responded to criticism over a failure to progress, saying:

We knew it was a difficult group. But we had a good team, when you lose against Madrid and Dortmund you are disappointed.

I am disappointed like everyone here but also when we started this group we knew it'd be a difficult group. We are a good team and we went out and we made some mistakes.

The fans are fantastic. They understand we are disappointed like them. They are really important because the season isn't finished. We are top of the league, we have the FA Cup. Now it's finished we can do nothing.

Whilst it may be all well and good to look to next year, I do think it peculiar that a club who has spent as much as Manchester City on players accepts a failure to qualify in the Champions League.

Call it a lack of experience, call it good opposition, make excuses, but when you face the facts you realise that City have spent £572 million on transfers since 2003. Maybe they were eclipsed in spending by Real Madrid in their group, but to go down to Ajax and Dortmund warrants concern (not doubting the ability of both sides).

Roberto Mancini's role at City hangs in the balance. A victory against Rafa Benitez's side this weekend will spare the Italian for some time, but a loss could spell the beginning of the end for Mancini. One would think that success in both the Premier League and FA Cup are necessary if he wants another shot in the Champions League with Manchester City.