If Mario Balotelli had left his “Why Always Me?” T-shirt behind in Manchester, his former manager Roberto Mancini might well have fancied wearing it yesterday.
The Manchester City boss, who used to joke that all his news conferences started with questions about fellow Italian Balotelli before the striker’s move to AC Milan last month, greeted the new must-ask query about his future at the English champions with an expletive. “I cannot continue to answer about this every week,” he fumed after first swearing when asked about reports suggesting Malaga’s Manuel Pellegrini could be in line to take over at City at the end of the season.
“I don’t understand the reason for this – why would Manchester City change their manager? For which reasons? In the last 18 months after 2011 since Manchester United won the Premier League and we won the FA Cup, there were seven trophies (to play for) and Manchester City won three of those,” he added, referring to the league, FA Cup and Community shield.
“I’m not the chairman or CEO, if you want to ask these questions maybe ask them.”
City could be 15 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United by the time they host third-placed Chelsea tomorrow but Mancini said: “Our target is of course the battle to win the Premier League, we don’t play (for) second.”
City have 53 points from 26 games, four more than tomorrow’s visitors, and anything other than victory over Chelsea will leave Mancini facing yet more questions about his future.
Arsene Wenger has also faced question about his future all week, but he is confident Arsenal – who host Aston Villa today – can regroup and have a strong end to the season. “What we need is to be united and strong, and not to be destabilised by people who have strong opinions after one game,” he said. “I believe what is important is that the club always goes with the guidelines we have and does not change direction every time we lose a big game, that would lead to a disaster. A bad period for a club is also a good opportunity to show how united and strong you are. We have a good history of that at Arsenal.”
The club’s regular board meeting yesterday was attended by majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who also watched the Bayern game on Tuesday night. Yet Wenger insisted it was very much a case of business as usual. He said: “The meeting speaks about many things: commercial, ticket prices, long-term plans. I make my report as well on the technical side, so it was the usual thing. Of course we had no euphoria because we have gone through a disappointment on Tuesday night, but apart from that we are responsible people who know what it is to fight.”