MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - If Mario Balotelli had left his “Why Always Me?” T-shirt behind in Manchester, his former manager Roberto Mancini might well have fancied wearing it on Friday.
The Manchester City boss, who used to joke that all his news conferences started with questions about fellow Italian Balotelli before the striker’s move to AC Milan last month, greeted the new must-ask query about his future at the English champions with an expletive.
“I cannot continue to answer about this every week,” he fumed after first swearing when asked about media reports suggesting Malaga’s Manuel Pellegrini could be in line to take over at City at the end of the season.
”I don’t understand the reason for this - why would Manchester City change their manager? For which reasons?
“In the last 18 months after 2011 since Manchester United won the Premier League and we won the FA Cup, there were seven trophies (to play for) and Manchester City won three of those,” he added, referring to the league, FA Cup and Community shield.
“I‘m not the chairman or CEO, if you want to ask these questions maybe ask them.”
City could be 15 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United by the time they host third-placed Chelsea on Sunday (1330 GMT) but Mancini said they were not merely scrapping for the runners-up spot.
“Our target is of course the battle to win the Premier League, we don’t play (for) second,” he said.
City have 53 points from 26 games, four more than Sunday’s visitors, and anything other than victory over Chelsea will leave Mancini facing yet more questions about his future.
His team will probably take on Rafael Benitez’s men without captain Vincent Kompany, whose recovery from a calf injury is taking longer than expected. Midfielder Gareth Barry will also face a late fitness test with an ankle problem, Mancini said.
“When we lose Vinny it is difficult for us,” the Italian said of the Belgian centre back whose commanding presence was one of the keys to last season’s title-winning campaign.
Mancini’s frustration at being asked again about his future comes in a week when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also lost his cool over similar questions earlier in the week.
But the City manager did manage to look on the bright side.
“In Italy it is worse, there are some teams that sometimes change manager three or four times in one year,” he said. “It is an improvement (in England).”
Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Justin Palmer