Roberto Mancini has been sacked as Manchester City manager after three-and-a-half years at the helm.
A statement said (external) he “had failed to achieve any of the club’s targets, with the exception of qualification for next season’s Champions League”.
Assistant Brian Kidd will take charge for the final two games of the season and the summer tour to America.
Malaga’s Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini has been strongly tipped to replace Mancini.
On Sunday night, 59-year-old Pellegrini, who spent one season in charge at Real Madrid in 2009-10, insisted he was not about to become the new City boss.
“I deny here and now being the new coach of Manchester City, I haven’t signed any agreement with anybody,” he said after Malaga’s goalless Primera Division draw with Sevilla.
City thanked Mancini for the job he had done, with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak saying: “Roberto’s record speaks for itself, he secured the love and respect of fans.
“He has done as he promised and delivered silverware and success.”
City added in their statement that it was “a difficult decision”, explaining it was “the outcome of a planned end of season review process that has been brought forward in light of recent speculation”.
The 48-year-old Italian replaced Mark Hughes in December 2009, winning the FA Cup in 2011 and City’s first top-flight league title for 44 years in 2012 – a year to the day before his sacking.
In July 2012, he signed a new five-year deal with the club.
But this term, City are a distant second to champions Manchester United, went out in the Champions League group stages and lost the FA Cup final to Wigan.
Mancini was critical of Manchester City officials for failing to deny the newspaper reports that surfaced on the morning of Saturday’s FA Cup final stating he would be sacked and replaced by Pellegrini.
City were beaten by Ben Watson’s 90th-minute header at Wembley as Wigan, struggling to avoid relegation from the Premier League in 18th place, became the lowest ranked team to win the FA Cup since West Ham in 1980.
City thrashed rivals United 6-1 at Old Trafford in October 2011 en route to their first Premier League title and, although they beat them again on their home ground this season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team wrapped up their 20th league crown last month with four matches remaining.
Mancini’s record in the Champions League has also come under scrutiny.
The furthest he has been in Europe’s elite competition is the quarter-finals, with Inter Milan, and City have been eliminated in the group stages of both their campaigns during his reign.
Having finished third behind Bayern Munich and Napoli in 2011 they again failed to qualify this term, winning none of their six matches in a formidable group that also contained Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax.
Their tally of three points was the lowest by an English side in the group stage of the competition.
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