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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral