Gary Neville expects Manchester City to sack Roberto Mancini if they fail to win title

Mancini has overseen an awful Champions League campaign

Gary Neville has accepted Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini could be ousted if he fails to retain the Premier League title.

Mancini heads into Sunday's Manchester derby only three points adrift of United and the only unbeaten side in the entire English four-tier structure.

Yet the Italian is under pressure following the Blues' European exit, their defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday meaning they have not even landed in the Europa League following their Champions League exit, as was the case 12 months ago.

Neville believes an FA Cup and Premier League underline the progress City have made over the past two seasons.

However, with a new chief executive to impress in Ferran Soriano and a new director of football to work with now Brian Marwood has made way for Txiki Begiristain, he feels Mancini's position cannot be described as secure, especially with Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho likely to be looking for work in the summer.

"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," said Neville.

"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."

Neville was speaking alongside journalists at a Football Writers' Association Forum in Manchester ahead of Sunday's derby clash between City and United at the Etihad Stadium.

The presence of two such prominent former Barcelona figures at the Etihad Stadium has lent credence to the theory Guardiola will choose City as the place to end his year-long sabbatical.

Mourinho has long been touted as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at United.

And with reports emerging from Spain the former Chelsea boss will leave Real Madrid in the summer, it has been suggested Ferguson might be persuaded to stand aside after spending 26 years at the Old Trafford helm.

Neville simply does not buy into that theory.

"Whilst he wants to carry on, Sir Alex Ferguson will not stand aside for anybody," said the former United full-back and now respected TV pundit.

"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."

With both clubs moving clear of third-placed Chelsea, United and City appear to have the Premier League title between them once more.

Sunday's match is delicately poised, with the Red Devils three points ahead of their neighbours, who have a better goal difference, meaning victory on Sunday will take them top, exactly the same position that existed ahead of the corresponding fixture last term.

"Sir Alex Ferguson has been openly concerned about United's defending," said Neville.

"It must be massively frustrating for him and he would have been embarrassed by the first half against Reading.

"But, at the really big points in the season, do his players let him down? More often than not, they do not.

"But there is also a lot I like about Manchester City. They have dug out results, never seem to go away and are still only three points behind."

PA

News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
Ministry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
News
peopleHere's what Stephen Fry would say
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Richard Dawkins is known for his outspoken views
people
Life and Style
L’Auberge du pont de Collonges (AFP)
food + drinkFury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Arts and Entertainment
Bourne's New Adventures dance company worked with 27 young Londoners to devise a curtain-raiser staged before New Adventures' performance of Edward Scissorhands
theatreStar choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links