Former Manchester City boss Peter Reid predicted today that Stoke, where he was assistant manager until last year, will beat the world's richest club to win the FA Cup this weekend.
However, ex-England midfielder Reid, who now manages Football League club Plymouth Argyle, said he expected Roberto Mancini to hang on to his job at Eastlands after the Italian guided City to a UEFA Champions League place. "I think Stoke will win because they're playing with less pressure than City and you saw how they performed in the semi-final," Reid, who made his name as a player at Everton, told AFP.
Stoke, who under manager Tony Pulis have become a regular fixture in the Premier League, stormed into Saturday's final at Wembley with a 5-0 thrashing of Bolton. Asked if defeat could spell trouble for the under-pressure Mancini, Reid said: "I don't think so. He's done what was asked of him by getting them into the Champions League - that was the big one, anything else is a bonus. The hardest trophy is the first one."
Reid said he wanted Manchester City to win the game because that was where he was manager, in the 1990s before taking over at Sunderland.
City fans deserved some glory at last, he said: "If City do get beaten in the final, it will be a massive blow to the supporters. They need a trophy. They've not won anything for 30-odd years. I know many of the supporters and the tough time they've had, especially when they went down to the third tier of football."
Reid, who left his post as Thailand coach in 2009 to become number two to Pulis before taking the job at Plymouth last year, said Mancini needed time to gel City into a team rather than just a set of expensive individuals.
"It takes time to build a team, make no mistake about that," said Reid. "I was Manchester City manager when Alex Ferguson was under extreme pressure (at neighbours United). It took five years for him to win a trophy, and that was a cup. Mancini is on course and the plan is working."