Eriksson safe from sack as City 'progress' pleases Thaksin

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Manchester City yesterday said Sven Goran Eriksson's job was safe, amid reports that the club's owner, Thaksin Shinawatra, was dissatisfied and ready to replace the Swede with the current Portugal coach, Felipe Scolari.

City are bemused by suggestions Thaksin might have been in discussions with agents about replacing Eriksson, whose side's season has fizzled out despite a strong home record. The Thai has spent the last few weeks in Bangkok, where he makes his latest court appearance on corruption charges this week, and will not be back in Manchester until next Sunday's home match with Portsmouth.

It is possible that agents' contact with Thaksin's representatives at Eastlands have given rise to suggestions of Eriksson's demise, which first surfaced two weeks ago. But Thaksin is the man who makes the decisions and Eriksson's removal seems inconceivable. Victory at Sunderland on Saturday saw the club to its highest Premier League points tally.

"The chairman has made it clear only a few weeks ago that he is happy about the progress we have made this season with a top-10 finish being his target," said a club spokesman. "We remain focused on continuing the domestic progress made under Thaksin Shinawatra."

The links between agents and Thaksin's representatives also came to light last week when it was suggested that Ronaldinho might come to the club. Thaksin was not involved in any such discussions and the Brazilian now seems ready to sign for Milan. City have been adamant that they are not interested in buying a £120,000-a-week player – despite Thaksin's view that the purchase of a superstar might be desirable in order to fill Eastlands.

Though Thaksin has used "superagents" to overcome his lack of football knowledge – Jerome Anderson assisted in the decision to bring Eriksson in last summer – the chief executive, Alistair Macintosh, was the key figure in two of the three signings in the January transfer window.

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