Managing the Mets is hard enough. Managing them as a lame duck is nearly impossible. That is what is staring Terry Collins in the face.

Collins is staring right back.

“Two of my really good friends went through it last year, and they didn’t have any problem with it,’’ Collins told The Post yesterday at the Mets’ spring-training facility.

Those two friends were Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker, who led the Tigers and Reds, respectively, to the postseason.

Baker offered up some wonderful life advice for Collins: “You can’t be afraid of the unknown.’’

“I thought,” Collins said, “that was one of the best statements I’ve ever heard.’’

Leyland, for his part, provided a good example.

“The first day of spring training [in 2012,] Jim said, ‘This is not going to be an issue, I am not going to talk about it, and we’re going to talk about it at the end of the year. ... End of story,’” Collins said. “That’s the way to do it.’’

Collins is prepared to follow Leyland’s lead.

“It is what it is,’’ Collins said. “I don’t want anything to take away from what we’re trying to do. I don’t want this to be an issue; it’s not with me. I’ve reached that stage in my career where I love what I do. I think we’ve got a chance to compete. That’s all we’re going to try to do is get better. Sandy [Alderson] and I talk every single day, and at the end of the season we’ll talk about it then, but right now it is not an issue. I have no problem where I stand.’’

Alderson said recently, “I think it will only be an issue if Terry makes it an issue, or I make it an issue.’’

In New York, though, stories have a way of never ending.

If the Mets falter, Collins will be taking the heat. The Mets won 74 games last season under Collins and 77 in 2011. Before that, he hadn’t managed in the majors since 1999.

Baker and Leyland both made it to October, with the Tigers advancing all the way to the World Series. No one dreams of any such miracles from Collins or the Mets. Baker was granted a two-year extension while Leyland was given another season.

But it didn’t work out so well for lame-duck manager Brad Mills in Houston, a team Collins once managed. Mills never made it through the season as he compiled a 39-82 record.

Lame-duck managers with teams going nowhere are “mired’’ to be fired.