Zenit mute on reports of Mancini departure

Saint Petersburg (AFP) –


Zenit Saint Petersburg on Thursday refused to comment on reports that manager Roberto Mancini could leave the club at the end of the season.

Former Manchester City and Inter Milan coach Mancini has been linked with the Italy manager's job.

"We're not going to comment on the situation right now," Zenit press spokesman Anton Makarenko told AFP by phone.

"The coach will stay at his post until the end of the season. Maybe the club will comment after that."

Earlier this week Italian Federation (FIGC) commissioner Roberto Fabbricini told media that Mancini had agreed in principle to become the next manager of four-time world champions Italy, who failed to qualify for the World Cup after defeat to Sweden in a two-leg playoff.

Mancini, 53, signed a three-year deal with Zenit last summer with an option of a two-year extension.

Zenit are currently fourth in the Russian Premier League, seven points behind league leaders Lokomotiv Moscow with just two matches to go.

After a goalless league draw with CSKA Moscow last weekend, Mancini refused to comment on the reports.

Last month, though, Mancini said he would be proud to coach Italy, telling Italian radio: "If one day I got the chance to sit on the national team bench it would be something beautiful."

During his 17-year coaching career Mancini led Manchester City to their first English league title in 44 years in 2012, and won three Serie A titles with Inter Milan. He also won Italian Cups with Inter, Fiorentina and Lazio.

Italy have been without a permanent coach since Gian Piero Ventura was sacked after they failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after losing to Sweden in November.