By Joe Bernstein

Roberto Mancini privately fears he will be sacked if Manchester City fail to win the Premier League, despite an upbeat public pronouncement last night that he is ‘confident’ he will still be in charge next season.

'Confident' Mancini knows the end could be near at Man City

Ahead of Sunday’s game at Wolves, which City will start eight points behind Manchester United if Sir Alex Ferguson’s team beat Everton at lunchtime, Mancini presented a case why he should be given a new contract this summer.
Under pressure: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancinii

Under pressure: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancinii

But behind the ‘on-the-record’ statements, the Italian is aware the storm clouds are gathering.

Mancini knows that, having held an eight-point lead at the top at one stage, he is unlikely to hold a strong hand in negotiations over a new contract as United have overtaken his team.

He may also be alarmed at influential City executive Brian Marwood being seen at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to run his eye over Barcelona, managed by the much-coveted Pep Guardiola.

Last night, Mancini chose his words carefully about his future. ‘At the moment I am concentrating on the last four games and after this we can talk about the future,’ he said.

‘I am confident that I will continue to do this job next year. I don’t think we have any problems because I think we have done a good job and we still have to play another four games.’

Mancini will be hoping Carlos Tevez can repeat his hat-trick performance against Norwich last week to brush aside bottom-of-the-table Wolves and leave the team in good heart for their next encounter – against United.