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Premier League

Man City's Mancini says critics 'don't understand football'

City face a season without silverware if they don't beat Leeds this weekend

Roberto Mancini has hit back at critics saying his job at Manchester City is under threat, saying they "don't understand football."

With rivals Manchester United taking a seemingly unassailable 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League after City's 3-1 humiliation at Southampton, former player Danny Mills said Mancini could be sacked if they don't beat Leeds in the FA Cup this weekend.

When asked about the suggestions in a press conference this afternoon, Mancini said: "We started our project three years ago.

"In three years we are always on the top - we fight for the title, we have won three trophies, we have the chance to win more this year.

"All the people who talk about this don't understand football.

"Because if Manchester City should sack me, the other 20 teams in the Premier League should be without a manager."

When told he had been criticised by "former City players", Mancini responded sarcastically, saying they were "probably the players that won a lot of trophies in the history".

Mills had told BBC Sport: "Mancini is under pressure. It looks like they have blown their chances of retaining the title.

"You wonder what would happen if they went out of the FA Cup against Leeds. I think Roberto Mancini goes."

The FA Cup is seen as the last credible chance the club has of silverware this season.

Mancini ended City's 35-year trophy drought by guiding them to FA Cup success in 2011, after succeeding Mark Hughes in December 2009.

He bettered that last season with the dramatic last-minute clinching of the league title- City's first in 44 years.

For Saturday's match, he is unlikely to risk captain Vincent Kompany, who has missed the last three games with a calf injury.

Midfielder Gareth Barry is also missing with an unspecified problem but central defender Matija Nastasic is fit again after a knee problem and striker Carlos Tevez returns after personal issues.