| Roberto Mancini, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez |
London: Roberto Mancini’s pursuit of a trophy this season could be all but over by Sunday unless Manchester City can prevent Leeds from pulling off another upset in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The manager, though, is mocking those critics who suggest his job could be on the line. “All the people who talk about this don’t understand football," the Italian said on Friday. “Because if Manchester City should sack me, the other 20 teams in the Premier League should be without a manager.”
City, though, have been England’s biggest spending team, with hundreds of millions of dollars lavished on the squad during the three years Mancini has been in charge.The major trophies to be won during Mancini’s reign are the Premier League and FA Cup, although he did end a 35-year trophy drought.
This season, City have already been dumped out of the League Cup and Champions League, while their Premier League title defence is in tatters with Manchester United surging 12 points ahead.
“We started our project three years ago," said Mancini, whose side lifted the pre-season Community Shield in August. “In three years, we are always on the top — we fight for the title, we won three trophies. We have the chance to win more this year.”
Beating Leeds will be no easy task, however, with the second-tier club knocking out Tottenham last month.
Manchester United, who is running away with the Premier League title, had a successful week in the Champions League, drawing 1-1 at Real Madrid in the first leg in the last 16.
In the FA Cup, United face Reading on Monday, giving manager Alex Ferguson a chance to rest some players. “It’s not easy to rotate but it has to be done,” Ferguson said.
“The biggest responsibility lies with me to pick the right team. In the final part of this season we have a lot of important games. After Monday we have a league game against QPR, then Norwich before Madrid again. Then we’ll use the full squad.”
Chelsea, on the other hand, only avoided elimination from the FA Cup three weeks ago at Brentford when Fernando Torres scored a late equaliser against the third-tier club.