While Roberto Mancini battles to save his job as Manchester City manager, his players are already campaigning for Patrick Vieira to replace him.
City players have given Vieira their unanimous backing in the race to succeed Mancini — should he be fired after the season, The Star reports.
“Mancini refused to speak to his flops and didn’t even go into the dressing room in the wake of the champions’ 3-1 loss that ruined their title hopes,” the report says. ”The fuming Italian left the post-match inquest to his coaching staff, but Starsport can reveal fed-up Blues stars have lost faith in Mancini and want Vieira to replace him.
“Blues stars have made him their ‘unanimous choice’ to take over on an interim basis should the club’s Abu Dhabi owners decide to make a change.”
Vieira, 36, is a popular and respected figure in the City camp. He currently serves as City’s football development executive, but he is taking steps to secure his coaching qualifications. He has already completed his UEFA ‘B’ licence and is in the process of earning ‘A’ and ‘Pro’ licences, which would allow him to manage a top-flight team for longer than 12 weeks. The former midfield general reportedly thinks his long-term future lies closer to the sidelines than the boardroom.
Vieira’s playing career was filled with success. He won one FIFA World Cup, one UEFA European Championship and one FIFA Confederations Cup with France. His club career included three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal. He left the English game for Italy, where he won Serie A titles with Juventus (one) and Inter Milan (four). He also won a Serie A title with AC Milan and one FA Cup title with City at the start and end of his career.
He retired after the 2010-11 season and went straight into his current role with City. But he may not remain in Manchester. Arsenal is considering offering him the position of head of youth development in an effort to bring him back to North London.
Vieira’s next step is intertwined with Mancini’s future. Should the club decide to part ways with Mancini, the support of City players could propel Vieria to the hot seat. If the club decides Mancini should continue in his current role, Vieria could seek opportunity at a new club.
Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.
Photo via Twitter/OfficialVieira