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Carlo Ancelotti insists he is not on the brink

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Ancelotti may need to win this trophy again to keep his job at Real Madrid
Ancelotti may need to win this trophy again to keep his job at Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti has insisted he is not fearing the sack at Real Madrid, as rumours mount that he is being lined up to replace the beleaguered Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City.

Ancelotti is clear favourite with all bookmakers to replace Pellegrini at City, with the Chilean tactician believed to be living on borrowed time after his side's title collapse was confirmed with a 4-2 defeat against Manchester United on Sunday.

The fate of Ancelotti at Real Madrid looked equally bleak last month as his side lost three big matches and dropped off the pace in the La Liga title race, inspiring many observers to suggest he needs to defend the Champions League title he won last season to hang on to his job.

A quarter-final date with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night is being viewed as make or break for Ancelotti, but the affable Italian insists he is not feeling the heat in the Spanish capital.

When asked whether his future depended on beating Atletico and winning the Champions League he responded: "I don't think so.

"It depends on the work carried out over a season, and this game simply forms a part of the season. I feel the time to judge my performance is at the end of the campaign and not now.

We are obsessed with getting through to the semifinals of the competition. Our objective is not to eliminate Atleti but to win our 11th European Cup."

Ancelotti also hinted Gareth Bale should be fit to play after a recent injury lay-off as he stated: "He's in good shape, as is the whole squad. Everyone is in the match squad. Tomorrow I'll decide the lineup and the substitutes. 

"I'm lucky to have everyone for such an important match. We have to use our individual quality and all our weapons, to play with pace and speed and attack.

"I have a really fresh squad and if one player isn't at 100 percent he won't play, but Bale is at 100 percent. Bale had a fantastic season last year. He scored in both [the Copa del Rey and Champions League] finals.

"We hope to play finals in the next months and he will be important, just like last year. The key is to have a compact team."

The odds on who will take over at Manchester City make for fascinating reading, with the lack of high profile contenders who are actually available a major concern for Etihad Stadium chiefs if they are looking to make a change.

Patrick Vieira is another name being strongly linked with the City job, as the former Arsenal midfielder is set to complete his UEFA Pro coaching license and has impressed City chiefs in his job working with the club's young players this season.

NEXT MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER

Carlo Ancelotti (Real Madrid) 6/5

Rafael Benitez (Napoli) 3/1

Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich) 9/2

Patrick Vieira (Man City Academy coach) 6/1

Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid) 8/1

Jurgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund) 10/1