London - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has responded to growing speculation over his future by insisting he doesn't expect to be sacked if his side fail to retain the Premier League title.
Pellegrini's position has come under scrutiny as City's season has unravelled in recent weeks.
City look unlikely to defend the English title having fallen six points behind leaders Chelsea, who have a game in hand, after a run of just three wins in nine games.
And their hopes of salvaging the season by winning the Champions League are also hanging by a slender thread as they head to Barcelona for the second leg with a 2-1 deficit to overcome in the last 16 tie on Wednesday.
City axed Roberto Mancini after a frustrating 2012-13 season, just a year after winning the title, prompting some to suggest Pellegrini's prospects could be equally bleak.
But the Chilean, who last week expressed his desire to stay beyond the end of his current contract in 2016, has reiterated his belief that is not the situation.
Pellegrini, in a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian and Daily Mail newspapers, said: "Roberto left the club for other reasons, not because he didn't win anything one year. It's not 'if you don't win, you're out.
"Of course winning trophies here is extremely important. I understand you can't just say, "It doesn't matter, we'll come in fourth or fifth because we've got a long-term project'.
"But in the last four years this team has won two leagues, come second once, and won the FA Cup and the League Cup. I have never felt the situation is that if I don't win I am out whatever happens."
City have not built on last year's second title success in three seasons and Pellegrini feels his team is still lacking a "crack" player to complement the firepower he already has.
Last year's spending had to be restricted as punishment for the club's failure to comply with European governing body UEFA's Financial Fair Play restrictions.
"This year we improved the squad while working within those limits. What we did not do was bring in a crack. I think this team now needs a crack, another special player just to give us that sense that we are now at another level," he said.
Pellegrini, who thinks the FFP regulations have unfairly punished City, would love to bring in more English talent next season, but he admits a move for Liverpool's England winger Raheem Sterling may be beyond their reach.
"It is important to have English players but can you sign them? You are talking about trying to sign players from clubs that won't sell them," he said.
"Can you get (Raheem) Sterling? Maybe if you go to Liverpool with £100 million you can."