MANCHESTER CITY boss Manuel Pellegrini won’t be sacked before the end of the season.
But the under-fire Chilean must secure a second-placed finish if he is to stand a remote chance of avoiding the chop.
Billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour and chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak are poised to conduct a ‘root and branch’ investigation into how the team’s season has failed so badly.
Club bosses will wait until next month before getting together to discuss the outcome of a woeful campaign.
City have dropped from top of the table to fourth place since the start of 2015 and now trail leaders Chelsea by nine points in the title race.
City’s title defence has come up woefully short and they now face a desperate battle to secure a top four finish and place in next season’s Champions League.
Pellegrini appears to be a dead-man-walking but senior sources at the Etihad have said that he might still be able to earn himself a stay of execution.
Reports have suggested the former Real Madrid boss might be put out of his misery and axed before the season even finishes.
But it is understood a strong finish to the campaign might be enough to earn him the chance to remain in charge for the start of next season, despite the club’s strong interest in Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone.
The club source said: “There are no plans to sack him. If the team can close the gap on Chelsea and make it a fight to the finish then it shows he still has the backing of the players.
“But if the worst happens and we tail off to finish lower down the table then, yes, there will be a problem I’d imagine.”
Pellegrini must now take his beleaguered troops to neighbours Manchester United on Sunday looking to stop the rot and salvage some pride.
But he will come up against a United side high on confidence following six straight wins, while City have won just two of their last seven outings.