London - Roberto Mancini has made it clear he does not expect to be sacked as Manchester City boss if he fails in his quest to turn Abu Dhabi's petrodollars into the footballing hard currency of a place in the Champions League.
Mancini was installed as City manager in December after the club's owners lost faith in his predecessory Mark Hughes's ability to deliver a top four finish in the Premier League.
City currently lie sixth and meetings with Aston Villa on Saturday and Tottenham four days later will determine if Mancini can succeed where Hughes was deemed to have failed.
Whatever happens, Mancini does not believe he should be regarded as a failure if results do not go City's way.
"No, I don't think I will have failed," he said. "We want to finish fourth and that is what we are working for.
"But we have improved a lot in the last five months and we must improve more if we want to be a good team. I think the owners can see that."
Mancini believes he would benefit from having a full pre-season with his players.
"When you work with a team in pre-season it is easier to do your job," he said.
"I imagine I will still be Manchester City manager. I hope so. I have a contract. I don't decide but I think I will be."
Mancini has already begun identifying summer transfer targets - Hamburg's Jerome Boateng is among them - but he denied planning to jettison some of Hughes's signings, including Emmanuel Adebayor, Wayne Bridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
"I have had meetings with the club about players for the future but I never said there were players I did not want," Mancini said.
Adebayor is struggling to shake off a thigh problem, while former Villa midfielder Gareth Barry is doubtful for the encounter with his former club after picking up a hamstring injury.
Mancini must also decide whether to draft Marton Fulop straight into his starting line-up following his arrival on an emergency loan from Sunderland.
Fulop was signed on Wednesday after efforts to get Joe Hart back from his loan spell at Birmingham failed.
Hart was City's first choice to replace Shay Given, who dislocated his shoulder at Arsenal on Sunday, but the deal was blocked by the Premier League, leaving Faroe Islands international Gunner Nielsen as the Blues only fit goalkeeper.
Mancini admitted he could understand Birmingham's position.
"It is an emergency for us," said Mancini. "We tried to get Joe but Birmingham said no. I respect that decision.
"We had to get someone because I have no idea when Shay will be back and, apart from Gunner Nielsen, we only had a 15-year-old.
"I will check the players in training and decide who plays on Saturday."