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Dec 7, 2012

Neville: Mancini needs to retain title

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini could lose his job if he fails to retain the Premier League title.

• Preview: Man City v Man Utd
• Blog: Will derby scales tip to blue?
• Fergie: It's a two-horse race
• Giggs: Reds rivalry bigger than City

Mancini heads into Sunday's crunch Manchester derby with his side three points adrift of United, though City are the only unbeaten team in all four divisions of the English football league.

However, the season has been far from plain sailing for the Italian with City suffering a group stage exit from the Champions League for the second successive season.

Despite picking up an FA Cup and Premier League title over the past two seasons, Neville feels that with Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho likely to be looking for work in the summer, Mancini's job is far from safe.

City have also recently appointed a new chief executive in Ferran Soriano and a new director of football in Txiki Begiristain, who both may well be planning a fresh chapter in City's story.

"Roberto Mancini deserves more time but it is not a ridiculous suggestion to think City would not consider making a change if he doesn't win the league,'' Neville said.

"Whilst Roberto Mancini continues to be successful he should stay in his job but it does feel like one day Mourinho or Guardiola will end up there.

"They have a new chief executive and a new director of football who presumably have the ear of the owner. It might be three or five years but eventually they will want to stamp their mark on the club and Mourinho and Guardiola have to be pretty high on the list.''

Both Soriano and Begiristain are former Barcelona employees, leading to speculation that former Barca boss Guardiola will choose City as the place to end his year-long sabbatical from the game.

Mourinho, meanwhile, has long been touted as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at United and with reports emerging that the former Chelsea boss will leave Real Madrid in the summer, it has been suggested Ferguson might be persuaded to stand aside.

Neville, however, believes his former manager is not quite ready for retirement yet.

"Whilst he wants to carry on, Sir Alex Ferguson will not stand aside for anybody,'' he said. "He will decide when he doesn't want to do it anymore.

"He is not the type of person who would just step aside so he could watch someone else manage his football team. It has been Alex Ferguson's last season for 15 years now. Unless it is the best kept secret in the world, nobody knows other than him.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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