Rafael Benitez at Chelsea, Roberto Mancini at Manchester City and Martin O’Neill at Sunderland are all managers under pressure but very different types of pressure.
Rafael Benitez has been under pressure ever since he walked through the door as interim boss at Chelsea. He’s under pressure because the fans get on his back in every game and he’s under pressure because Roman Abramovich has shown that it’s literally a lottery to as and when a manager will be asked to leave the club.
Benitez guided the team to an emphatic 6-1 win over FC Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge but it wasn’t enough to help the team through in the Champions League. He’s now under pressure to help Chelsea rediscover their Premier League form because he could be sacked before the end of the season if Chelsea drop out of the top four.
Mancini is under big pressure this weekend because it’s the Manchester derby with United visiting City at Eastlands. If City lose that game then it will put them six points behind Manchester United and unless Mancini can turn around that sort of deficit by the end of January, he could be asked to walk before the end of the season.
You’ve also got to consider the other side of things and Martin O’Neill is one high profile manager under a lot of pressure at Sunderland. This is different pressure because Sunderland are not expected to challenge for any silverware, it’s the pressure of what relegation can do to a club and manager.
O’Neill is under pressure because Sunderland spent a lot of money over the summer and they have a very good squad of players. He’s also under a lot of pressure because he is widely respected as one of the best tactical managers in the Premier League and this is being tested to the limit at the moment.