If this was Roman Abramovich, we would know what was coming next. A blank year represents a bad year when Manchester City fully expected to start their dominance of the Premier League this season and in fairness it is not just the Chelsea owner whose patience would lapse. In Italy or Spain it would be just the same. Roberto Mancini would be toast.
This is how it works at the top end of football. It is not going to change, no matter how galling it can be sometimes, and Mancini is probably lucky Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan and his right-hand man, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, don't seem tied to the blame culture and zero-tolerance thinking that exist in so many other places. Sir Alex Ferguson, as a simple old Mr, finished 11th in his second full season at Manchester United, with 51 points. Mancini's City are going to finish second at worst, with possibly the highest points total there has ever been for a runner-up (71 so far, with seven games to go). Yet football has become so intolerant and knee-jerk, it is probably inevitable the Italian has had to endure questions about his position now it looks increasingly likely his team will end the season with nothing.
He answered in a way that made it clear he knows only too well what can happen when vast sums of money are spent and targets not met, however marginally. He wants to stay, he said, but he could not be absolutely certain it would happen because the Italian is well-versed in the mechanics of his industry.