El Centrocampista

Will Pellegrini be a success at Manchester City?

It was hardly a shock to hear that Roberto Mancini was relieved of his duty as manager of ManchesterCity in the aftermath of their recent FA Cup final loss to Wigan Athletic.

A year to the day after City’s miraculous last minute winner which clinched their first Premier League title in 44 years, as they say, the writing was on the wall and Mancini met the same fate as the man he replaced 3 years ago.

Despite the clubs owners coming under fire for their decision to sack Mancini, it does makes logical sense. ManchesterCity impressively won the title in 2011-12, pipping arch rivals United to the crown, however, this season didn’t exactly go to plan and City never really looked likely to prolong their title reign once the business end of the season dawned.

After crashing out of the Champions League group stages, City were already a significant distance behind leaders Manchester United, with the FA Cup final loss to relegated Wigan Athletic making it clear that the Sky Blues and their manager had no future together.

The Citizens appear to have lined up a replacement, with Malaga’s Chilean manager, Manuel Pellegrini, reported to have been all but appointed to succeed Mancini at City.

As we await for the former Chile international defender to appointed, the attention of every ManchesterCity fan will no doubt turn to whether or not Pellergini is up to the rigors of the English Premier League.

Whilst Mancini was sound technically, he was severely lacking in the man management department. Countless conflicts with players at ManchesterCity, and also at Inter Milan, were widely reported, Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez more notably. Former Holland winger Andy van der Meyde mentioned in his memoir of his playing days that it was not uncommon for various players to be caught up in a physical confrontation with Mancini.

Pellegrini is perhaps most well known for forming the world’s most expensive squad during his tenure as Real Madrid manager but he is also responsible for taking smaller clubs like Villareal and Malaga to the heights of the Champions League. All teams managed by Pellegrini have a similar trait, in that they show remarkable unity in the face of adversity. When his Malaga side hadn’t been paid in months earlier this season, he managed to keep the peace between players and board members and managed to keep the team winning.

The Chilean is a big believer in the importance of character. Pellegrini will only look to add players that have the right mentality for his side, which is something that Mancini overlooked when signing the biggest players available to him, a lot of which had a detrimental impact on the team.

As well as being a good man manager, Pellegrini is also tactically astute, another area in which Mancini was left lacking. Despite spending millions at City and Inter, Mancini has fared miserably in Europe, because a lot of the time to win games on the continent, it takes more than sheer talent. Villlareal, when under the tutelage of Pellegrini, were one penalty away from reaching the Champions League final in 2006, and Malaga also came within a minute of reaching the semi-finals this year.

Also key to the appointment of Pellegrini is the role of sporting director Txiki Begiristain. Together they will attempt to adopt the Spanish style of play to the ManchesterCity team by creating an overload in centre of the pitch, allowing players such as David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero more time and space.

Simiarly to David Moyes, critics will point to the fact the Pellegrini has never won a major trophy in Europe. But I argue that the success that he has seen at more modest clubs equates to winning a trophy at a bigger club.

On and off the field Pellegrini seems like the perfect choice for the ’holistic’ brand of football that the new era at City is looking for. Off the football field, Pellegrini is very much a quiet and honest man. You will not see almost childish outburts and brash claims that Mancini became synonymous with in the British media.

Pellegrini is gifted at implementing a house style and fostering a footballing culture, the very foundations so conspicuously missing from City under Mancini, whose formations and mindsets meandered as sharply as his lineups. Pellegrini will bring through young players from the academy, rather than throw money at every positional problem by bringing in yet more big name players.

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