Roberto Mancini can take heart from the comments made by Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour this week, as they are the sign of a steady owner.
When the Citizens left Emirates Stadium as losers earlier this month, it was generally accepted that their title challenge was all but over as it meant they fell eight points behind Manchester United.
With that defeat apparently ending the race for this year, aligned with Mancini’s own admission that his side had thrown their chances of the title away, there were some questioning the Italian’s future at the Etihad Stadium.
With the hundreds of millions that had been spent, many felt that a season without a trophy was a failure on the part of the manager and there were predictions that he could be replaced come the summer.
However, just two short weeks later and the title terrain has transformed dramatically; a poor defeat at Wigan and sloppy defending to allow Everton back into a game that was, by all accounts, already won has brought United to within three points of their neighbours.
It is a dramatic change in fortunes that few had foreseen and it has created scenario that Sky officials probably dream about – a title-deciding local derby.
It has become dramatically and delightfully poised for when Sir Alex Ferguson takes his side across the city to face a side who have rediscovered their form and a winning desire that appeared to have deserted them in the past two months.
Of course, it is not actually a title decider as both sides still have other games left to play and the past few weeks have proven that no team seems assured of victory in the Premier League.
Significantly, though, the tales of Mancini’s departure have receded and now the club’s owner has taken the unusual step of speaking with the press to praise the work that has been done at the club and by their manager.
It was not the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ that has preceded many a dismissal, but a calm appraisal of how far they have come this season and that failure to win the league does not mean the manager’s job is forfeit.
Obviously it is hard to take this entirely at face value as there is no shortage of owners who have praised their managers one week and shown them the door the next, but the comments appear to indicate Mansour to be a more considered owner.
“The difference is three points and we do have a chance,” he told Abu Dhabi TV.
“But whatever happens and even if we don't win I am very happy and satisfied with the players, team and management.”
This would seem to go against the grain of owners new to the game of football club ownership, many of which want success in a short period, something that doesn’t really match up with the game.
No matter how much money you invest in a squad, it will not be successful if there is not harmony among the players, organisation on the field and a communal will to win.
It takes time to produce these aspects and all the money in the world cannot force the issue, which is a concept that appears to be well grasped by Mansour.
The plan for City is obviously one aimed at long-term success and a patient approach towards the management will only help this.
The club have made progress every season since the millions poured in and, even if they fall short this year, all indications are that a league title will not evade them for too much longer.
It is a standpoint that seems to be sadly lacking many owners in modern football as a whole, though it is also necessary to acknowledge that almost no other teams have the security of continued vast investment.
As success goes, football is really quite straightforward and the teams that spend the most money overall will generally experience success eventually.
So it would seem Mancini’s job is safe if his side only manage to finish second in a league they have not won, and rarely looked like coming close to winning, since 1968.
Mancini’s job also appears secure despite going out in the group stages of the Champions League – a competition they had never qualified for before.
It feels strange to find surprise in Mansour’s words, but football in the last few years has been a desert for a patient and considered approach to ownership.