Roberto Mancini has accused the Manchester City hierarchy of acting like Judas in the closing stages of his reign at the Etihad Stadium.
Mancini led City to its first top-flight title for 44 years in 2011-12, but paid with his job after losing to Wigan in the FA Cup final one year later, with Manchester United winning the league crown.
Manuel Pellegrini replaced the Italian, but he believes that chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain held talks with prospective successors for several months before his departure — including Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola.
"I know a lot of people in football and I found out afterwards that they were talking to three or four managers in February, March and April," he told The Sun on Sunday. "I know they were talking to Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti — and these were the same people I sat down with for dinner before the FA Cup final.
"It was like Judas. I trusted the chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak 100 percent, but not those two other guys [Soriano and Begiristain] — probably he just followed them.
"Some people just don't have the courage to talk face to face — even Khaldoon did not tell me to my face what was happening. Instead they were working behind my back and sacked me two games before the end of the season."