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Feb 15, 2013

Mancini critics 'don't understand football'

Roberto Mancini has laughed off speculation he will lose his job if Manchester City are knocked out of the FA Cup by Leeds, and said that if he is sacked, every Premier League manager should suffer the same fate.

• Preview: Man City v Leeds
• Blog: FFP: Farewell, Flexible Positions

Former City defender Danny Mills recently suggested that, with the champions 12 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, Mancini would be fired next week if Leeds win at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

But the Italian professed ignorance of a threat to his position on Friday and was unworried by comments from ex-players, claiming his critics don't understand football.

"Probably the players that won a lot of trophies in the history," he said, aware that he ended City's 35-year wait for silverware by lifting the FA Cup in 2011. "I don't know who are the 'many people' [who say this]."

Mancini believes his record at the Etihad Stadium should ensure he keeps his job and says he has made huge progress since his appointment in December 2009.

The City boss inherited a team who had finished tenth under Mark Hughes and has since guided them to fifth, third and first in the Premier League, winning a first title in 44 years, as well as the FA Cup and the Community Shield.

"We started our project three years ago," Mancini said. "In three years we are always on the top, we fight for the title, we won three trophies and we have the chance to win more this year. All the people who talk about this [sacking him] don't understand football. Because if Manchester City should sack me, the other 19 teams in the Premier League should be without a manager."

Mancini has not given up hope of overhauling league-leaders United in the title race.

"I have another mentality," he said. "We have 12 games. We need to do our best, not look at the table because it is not important now. We are a good team. We made some mistakes and lost some stupid points. We don't deserve to stay 12 points behind and United deserve to stay on top at this moment.

"It is a difficult moment because we lost seven points in three games but football sometimes is strange. When you think it is finished, three or four games can change everything. While we have the points available to win, we should believe in ourselves."

However, Mancini admits the club's owners are not satisfied with how the title defence has played out so far.

"I speak with Khaldoon every week," he said. "He is like me. When we lose he has my mentality, he is upset and disappointed but this is normal and it's correct in football.

"After you lose you can't be happy for 24 hours but after that you need to think about the future. We have a good relationship. At this moment they aren't happy because when you lose you can't be happy but I think they are happy with our job over the three years."

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