Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has hit back at critics by insisting he does not deserved to be fired, given his previous results with the club. The defending Premier League champions have been unable to re-create the dominant form of last season, when the ex-Inter Milan boss led them to a first league championship in over four decades. This season, they are already 12 points behind cross-town rivals Manchester United.

Poor performances in the league, coupled with a second successive group stage exit from the Champions League, have fuelled rumours of a potential summer exit for the 48-year-old manager. Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho was linked with the Etihad post but comments from City's administrators seem to have put that thought to bed.

Speculation aside, Mancini has now been quoted as saying he remained dedicated to City's project and his record was proof enough he would retain his post past the summer, regardless of present results.

"We started our project three years ago. In three years we are always on the top - we fight for the title, we have won three trophies... we have the chance to win more this year. All the people who talk about this don't understand football. If Manchester City should sack me, the other teams in the Premier League should be without a manager," the Italian said.

It is believed that City's failure on the European stage is undermining Mancini's position. The club were admittedly drawn in a tough group in this year's competition - with Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, the champions of Spain, Holland and Germany respectively. Nevertheless, the fact the club exited the tournament without a single win has not been viewed favourably. And since retaining the Premier League is now a nearly impossible task, Mancini is left with the FA Cup as the only trophy he can reasonably hope to win this year.

Mancini also said he knew he had the backing of his owners and that he spoke regularly to club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

"I speak with Khaldoon every week... He is like me. When we lose, he has my mentality. He is upset and ­disappointed, but this is normal. After you lose, you cannot be happy for 24 hours. After that you need to think about the future. We have a good relationship. At this moment they aren't happy because when you lose you can't be happy, but I think they are happy with our job over the three years," he stressed.

Mancini on Leeds and Warnock

Meanwhile, the City boss also had words for Championship club Leeds United. The two will face each other in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon, at the Etihad.

"[Neil] Warnock is a top manager. He has big experience and he knows football very well. I played against him last year with QPR and we had big ­problems when we won 3-2 in London," Mancini said, speaking of the Whites' manager, "... the FA Cup is a way to do better than in the last three months."