Former Manchester City defender Andy Hinchcliffe believes the club have acted too soon by sacking Roberto Mancini as manager.
City finally put an end to three days of intense speculation over Mancini's position by announcing his departure late on Monday evening. The club said the Italian had failed to achieve this season's "stated targets" while there was also a desire to develop a "holistic approach to all aspects of football" at City.
But after winning the Barclays Premier League last year and the FA Cup in 2011, despite European disappointments, Hinchcliffe feels Mancini deserved more time, telling Sky Sports News: "I am not surprised, there have been so many rumours that Roberto is going to be leaving the club."
He added: "But I do think he has been treated rather harshly, it has been a difficult season, there has been reasons why City haven't done as well in the Premier League. Losing to Wigan in the FA Cup final was maybe the final straw.
"I am disappointed, I felt they should have given him at least another 12 months, another Champions League campaign to prove his worth. He signed a long-term contract at the back end of last year and I felt the owners got it right.
"You thought they realised it's not going to be success year after year - you do have to put things in place, lay the foundations. Getting Mancini on board with a long-term contract seemed the right move but things have drastically changed."
The reference to the 'holistic approach' in the statement in which City announced Mancini's departure has been interpreted by some people as a reference to other aspects of his management style.
Mancini certainly attracted criticism for some comments about certain players, which may not have helped dressing room harmony. Hinchcliffe feels it may not just be failings on the field with have cost Mancini.
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini, who reputedly has excellent man-management skills, is the overwhelming favourite to succeed Mancini.
Hinchcliffe said: "All this talk about a holistic approach - do they think Pellegrini will get the best out of the club and players, something more than Mancini did. Was there a fractured relationship with some players? Pellegrini might be able to put that right and Manchester City could move forward more quickly with a manager that understands players better."