Roberto Mancini Is at the Mercy of Man City's Owners, with or Without an FA Cup

Michael Butler@@michaelbutler18Featured ColumnistMarch 12, 2013

Let's get one thing out of the way straight away—if Manchester City fail to win the FA Cup this year, it is a near-certainty Roberto Mancini will be shown the door.

It seems preposterous that a manager who delivered the club's first trophy in 35 years and the first league title in 44 years could find himself in this position, but the nature of City's trajectory since he took over has meant that whilst a 1-0 FA Cup final win over Stoke was good enough in 2011, this season Mancini berates his players when they don't come away from the Real Madrid away with a win.

2011's achievement's (an FA Cup and Champions League qualification) is the maximum Mancini can expect to squeeze out of this season. Even with these handsome achievements, his ability to keep his job may yet still depend on factors that are largely outside of his control in the hands of the owners. 

The emphasis that Man City's owners place upon the Champions League is key to how Mancini will be judged. Speaking in 2011 before Man City's Premier League triumph, Sheikh Mansour expressed that domestic success was more important than that in Europe.

"We must not forget that our main objective is to win the English Premier League and if we achieve that, then it will have an impact on the team and the club as a whole and will show we can achieve anything" (via The Telegraph)

Now that City have a league title under their belt, it all depends on whether the Sheikh still feels the same. However, if, like Roman Abramovich at Chelsea, he is now more concerned with European prowess and the financial gains that come from it, it could spell curtains for Mancini.

Another reason Mancini might live to see the dawn of next season is purely because of a lack of other available replacements for the owners. José Mourinho is one of the only names that could upstage Mancini and has always said that he wants to return to English football, with reports surfacing that he has already agreed to terminate his stay in Madrid (via The Metro). If Mourinho is indeed open to a switch to The Etihad Stadium, I would think Mancini's fate is sealed. 

Mancini must deliver the FA Cup with Champions League qualification if he is to stand a chance of wearing a sky blue scarf next season, but even if he does deliver, he may still find it may not be enough.


Follow me (if you like) on Twitter @michaelbutler18