LONDON — Manchester City fired manager Roberto Mancini on Monday, exactly one year after he delivered the club’s first English league title in 44 years.
The Italian, who had four years remaining on his city contract, was ditched just as Manchester United’s players were being cheered through the streets of the city as they paraded the Premier League trophy that was easily re-captured from their neighbors.
City said its end-of-season review was brought forward “out of respect for Roberto” after it was reported that Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini has been lined up to replace him. Mancini’s final days in charge were marked by his attacks on City for failing to deny those reports.
Mancini has paid the price for City’s failure to build on its position of strength, with the club set to end the season without a trophy after losing the FA Cup final on Saturday and exiting the group stage of the Champions League for the second straight campaign.
“Despite everyone’s best efforts, the club has failed to achieve any of its stated targets this year, with the exception of qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League,” City said in a statement.
“This, combined with an identified need to develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find a new manager for the 2013/14 season and beyond.”
United regained the Premier League trophy from City with four rounds to spare.
By City’s standards, before being bought by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour in 2008, finishing second in the league this month would have been a commendable achievement. But a team that has benefited from about $1 billion of Abu Dhabi investment in five years appears to be going backward.
“Roberto’s record speaks for itself and he has the respect and gratitude of Sheikh Mansour, myself and the board for all of his hard work and commitment over the last three and a half years,” Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said. “He has clearly also secured the love and respect of our fans. He has done as he promised and delivered silverware and success, breaking the club’s 35-year trophy drought and securing the title in 2012.
“I would like to personally and publicly thank him for his dedication to the progress that he has overseen and for his support and continued friendship.”
Assistant Manager Brian Kidd will take charge of City for the last two games of the season, at Reading on Tuesday and at home against Norwich on Sunday, before leading a post-season tour to the United States.
Even before Mancini’s departure, it looked like being a busy offseason for player moves at City — despite the restrictions imposed by UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.
City’s poor recruitment in the last offseason laid the seeds for Mancini’s eventual demise.