LONDON (AP) — Manchester City fired manager Roberto Mancini on Monday, exactly a year after he delivered the club's first English league title in 44 years.
The Italian has paid the price for Man City's failure to build on its position of strength. The club set to end the season without a trophy after losing the FA Cup final and exiting the group stage of the Champions League for the second straight season.
"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."
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 has publically criticized City for failing to deny those reports.
City was bought by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 2008. By the team's previous standards, a second-place finish would have been a commendable achievement.
But a team that has benefited from about $1 billion of investment in five years appears to be going backward.
The FA Cup final, which Mancini won in 2011 to end the club's 35-year trophy drought, was lost Saturday to relegation-threatened Wigan.
"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, the first of which is on Tuesday at Reading, before leading a postseason tour to St. Louis and New York.
Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris