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Manchester City silent over Roberto Mancini speculation

Updated: Monday, 13 May 2013 16:10 | Comments

Roberto Mancini look set to leave Manchester City
Roberto Mancini look set to leave Manchester City

Manchester City have maintained a silence throughout another day of continuing and intense speculation over the future of manager Roberto Mancini.

Rumours the Italian is about to be axed and replaced with Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini have gathered momentum since Friday, the eve of City's shock FA Cup final loss to Wigan.

Mancini hit out at City officials for failing to extinguish the speculation after that humbling defeat at Wembley but there has been no comment from the club since.

City have remained in London since the weekend to train ahead of tomorrow's fixture at Reading in the Barclays Premier League.

Reporters and TV crews have been based outside the team hotel and at QPR's Loftus Road ground, where City have trained, during the day.

Mancini did not stop to speak as he headed for training with the team, or when he left separately afterwards.

The mood contrasts sharply with that of exactly a year ago, when City beat QPR in thrilling fashion to win the Barclays Premier League.

Mancini was rewarded with a five-year contract after that victory but his failure to build on last season's achievements has seen his position come under regular scrutiny.

City were unable to sustain a credible title defence and they slumped out of the Champions League at the group stage for a second successive season.

Pellegrini's name has been one of several linked with City in the light of their disappointments but, until now, Mancini has always brushed off the speculation.

He has spoken with confidence about his job security based on the progress he has overseen at the club since his appointment in 2009, but the loss to Wigan has been another blow.

And even though results do still look healthy for a club that had not won a trophy in 35 years prior to their FA Cup success in 2011, there have been other difficulties this season.

Comments from Mancini relating to Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Samir Nasri and even influential captain Vincent Kompany have attracted criticism and may not have helped dressing room harmony.

Mancini was also criticised for indulging controversial striker Mario Balotelli, who left the club in January, for too long.

Despite the rumours, Pellegrini has denied he has an agreement in place with City.

The Chilean's agent was reported to have met with City director of football Txiki Begiristain last month.

He has made known he is to leave the club, whom he guided to the Champions League quarter-finals, at the end of the season but has dismissed City talk.

The former Real Madrid and Villarreal boss, speaking after Malaga's game against Sevilla on Sunday, told reporters: "I deny here and now being the new coach of Manchester City, I haven't signed any agreement with anybody.

"I've been fortunate enough, and very proud, that every year the big clubs have shown an interest in me.

"I have an agreement with Malaga not to talk to anyone and nothing has been agreed with any other club.

"I hope in the coming weeks that things will become a little clearer what is going to be the future here at this club."

Meanwhile City's players must try to recover from the disappointment of Saturday, when they were on the wrong end of one of the great cup upsets, as they prepare to face Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

City, who play Norwich in their final game of the season on Sunday, need just one more point to secure second place in the table.

First-team coach David Platt spoke about the match on Saturday evening.

Platt said: "We have two games left, we have to pick ourselves up for the game against Reading.

"That is what we are about, we are professional footballers.

"It is hard to get back after you get to a final, and you get all the way - you want to win it.

"We won it two years ago, the feelings are quite profound.

"We have got two games to go and we owe it to everybody, the fans and the football club, to put it behind us as quickly as we can.

"We need to go out and win two football matches between now and the end of the season."

Defender Pablo Zabaleta is suspended after his sending off in the closing stages of the FA Cup final.

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