When the final whistle blew on Manchester City’s embarrassing (by their own standards) 3-1 defeat at Southampton, you could be forgiven for imagining that that was that in terms of the Premier League title race. If United win against Everton today – not an easy ask by any means – City will be twelve points behind their rivals with just 12 games remaining, and Mancini has already rated his team’s chances of overhauling United as “maybe 10 per cent” according to the MailOnline.

It looks an impossible prospect, so should Mancini face the axe?

By the exacting standards of the club’s owners, the answer is most likely yes. City are still in the FA Cup, but their continued failure in the Champions League, as well as in the League Cup will not ease matters for Mancini who now faces the very real prospect of winning only one cup this year, and even that is far from assured. City’s owners have spent hugely in the past few years, and that sort of return will only be tolerated for as long as there isn’t an immediately obvious alternative to Mancini lined up.

Against Southampton City looked toothless at times – whether through the fault of the manager of the owners the attack lacked a cutting edge, thanks to Balotelli’s defection back to Italy and Carlos Tevez’s absence for personal reasons. It is almost unthinkable that a team with City’s resources should be so limited, but Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero were the only available bodies to fill those attacking roles, and neither looked particularly effective.

Given those resources, City need the kind of manager who will get the most out of the expensive players the owners bring in, to make them gel and to to inspire the kind of chemistry that usually comes from a team that grows up playing together. It’s not an easy prospect, but when a manager’s role is reduced so much, it is surely an awful lot easier than having to scrape together victories for a “smaller” team battling relegation.

In that respect Mancini is no more than a glorified coach, and as long as he is making mistakes and not setting his team up right or sending out the right players to get results he isn’t doing his job. And that can only point to one thing.

It’s time to bring someone else in.

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