Roberto Mancini Opens Up About Exit from Manchester City

Danny CollinsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2014

Galatasaray's coach Roberto Mancini watches his team during their Champions League Group B soccer match against Juventus, at the TT Arena Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (AP Photo)
Uncredited/Associated Press

Roberto Mancini claims that Manchester City were talking to four other managers about replacing him months before he was sacked, according to an exclusive interview with Neil Custis of The Sun (subscription required). 

Amid Mancini's extraordinary allegations, he also labelled Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain "Judases."

The now-Galatasaray boss oversaw a period of unprecedented success in City's history, taking them to a dramatic title in 2012. But his inability to see the team make a mark in the Champions League saw the Italian dismissed. 

And it is clear that Mancini still bears resentment toward the treatment he received, as per The Sun

I know a lot of people in football and I found out afterwards that they were talking to three or four managers in February, March and April.

I know they were talking to Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti.

And these were the same people I was sat down with for dinner before the FA Cup final.

It was like Judas. I trusted the chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak 100 per cent but not those other two guys, probably he just followed them.


The comments may be seen as bitterness in some quarters, given the excellent form Manchester City have experienced under new boss Manuel Pellegrini. 

Mancini accused Begiristain of being a "Judas."
Mancini accused Begiristain of being a "Judas."Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The Chilean has taken City into the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time and seen his side hit more than 100 goals already this season. 

But Mancini has had success of his own at Galatasaray. The Turkish giants sat 10th in the league when he arrived and now find themselves second, with a Champions League tie against Chelsea beckoning.

An accusation frequently thrown at Mancini was a lack of harmony amongst his title-winning squad. It is an accusation he vehemently refutes:

The people that talk about this are really low. It is normal a manager can have problems with some players.

If a manager buys a player for over £20 million and he is not playing well, he has to go on the bench.

If the manager has the support of the club there is no problem with this.

I think that some players talked with the chairman and the other two people behind my back.

I know which players but I don’t want to say.

I loved all the players, even the ones who talked behind my back because I think in the future they will understand they made a mistake.

We won the league together ending a 44-year wait, we changed the history in Manchester. I did everything for the players. I was upset with them sometimes — this is normal, even Fergie was like that!

Mancini experienced a tumultuous time at Manchester City, but he still delivered the club's first league title in 44 years and their first FA Cup in 35 years. 

Add to that the squad he assembled. 

The spine of City's team was built under Mancini's reign: Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure were all brought in by the Italian.

But his side failed to qualify from their Champions League group in 2012-13 and could not retain their title, as Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United side pipped their city rivals to the crown.

Mancini's authority was also seriously undermined by Carlos Tevez's refusal to play against Bayern Munich. Mancini went back on his promise that Tevez would never again play for him, and his authority was forever weakened. 

Oliver Kay of The Times went to Twitter following the interview and certainly seemed cynical about the comments:

Few could have imagined Ferguson or Arsene Wenger forgiving a similar level of dissent from one of their charges. 

It therefore became widely accepted that FA Cup Final defeat to Wigan Athletic sealed Mancini's fate. But he believes his job was already gone before the match at Wembley, saying to The Sun

Before the final all the players knew I was going, that’s why they played a really s*** game. Yet I still hadn’t been told anything.

It was the club’s fault we lost that game, because they said nothing.

It was still another two days before his sacking was confirmed in a phone call from Khaldoon.

Khaldoon called me and said ‘the Sheikh wants to change things because we didn’t get through the group in the Champions League’.

I said ‘Khaldoon, we were in a group with Borussia Dortmund who got to the final and with Real Madrid, it was a difficult group'.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the breakdown in the relationship between Mancini and City appears to have left both parties stronger. 

Mancini has made an impeccable start to the rehabilitation of his barely tarnished reputation in Turkey. 

And as for Manchester City? The answer to how much they really miss Robert Mancini will come in May 2014.

Manchester City face a difficult Champions League tie against Barcelona in the last 16 but will go in with confidence, especially given their formidable home form. 

That confidence has taken a dent recently after they failed to score in their last two games against title rivals Chelsea and Norwich. 

But with Chelsea and Barcelona being the opponents for two of their next three matches, City will have to rediscover the killer instinct that has seen them score 115 goals this term.