Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, has mocked the idea of his club's new Spanish hierarchy hiring Pep Guardiola to replace him – declaring of the former Barcelona manager, now living on sabbatical in New York: "His problem is the typhoon."
City's appointment of Txiki Begiristain as sporting director by the club's new chief executive Ferran Soriano has prompted suggestions that the two – both ex-Barcelona – have Guardiola lined up. Mancini introduced that suggestion to his weekly press conference yesterday, in order to knock it down.
The sense of insecurity surrounding the Italian's future has been compounded by the emergence of details of the talks he held with Monaco last summer, as well as by Begiristain's appointment to a position which relegates the Italian to third in City's new "pyramid of excellence" management structure. Mancini said he was "very close with seven or eight teams" last year but preferred to stay at the Etihad Stadium "because I worked well here for three years." But there was an unmistakeable sense of defensiveness though, when Mancini said: "If someone thinks we didn't do a good job, we won three trophies in two years, we worked well."
Mancini still does not seem to be in a state of harmony with some of his backroom staff and bizarrely, he suggested that Micah Richards, who is on crutches after sustaining a meniscus tear against Swansea City last weekend, would be fit in a few weeks, when it is understood he will be on crutches for at least five. The prognosis remains two and half to three months.
Speaking for the first time of the new management structure, Mancini said: "I'm very happy because we have a new sporting director and he worked for Barça and has big experience with a top team. I have my job, Txiki will have his job, Ferran has his job but together I think we can work very, we can work quickly and this is another reason because I am happy for this.
"Also if you write City is here and maybe next year we arrive with Guardiola or another manager, I don't know, this is not my problem. I am here, I want to work well, I want everyone to work well because in this moment we are ready to improve and build a stronger team."
He insisted that he, not Berigistain, would have the final call on purchases. "Yeah yeah yeah, like last year or the last two years, it doesn't change anything. I hope that now I'm sure we can work, because if you can buy players very quickly rather than wait until the last few days of the market, I think it is better for the team. You can prepare the team well."
David Silva will miss Tuesday's match against Ajax but may get half an hour against Tottenham Hotspur, a week tomorrow. Jack Rodwell and Maicon are one to two weeks off a return to training.