Manuel Pellegrini ! What an end to the Chilean’s time at Manchester City ! At least he won the battle with local rivals Manchester United to secure a Champions League spot unless we can not imagine how the former Malaga boss would be treated by the fans of Manchester City. The only big acceptable reason for sacking Manuel Pellegrini would be the appointment of Pep Guardiola, a renown winner.
In his three years with Manchester City, Pellegrini won English Premier League title in his very first season in 2014 becoming the first ever manager from outside Europe to win the English Premier League. Though he had a trophyless second season at the Etihad, City finished as runners in the Premier League and reached the round 16 of the Champions League. His third season was not so successful as his first season as he failed to reclaim the Premier League title but City won the League Cup and played the semi-finals of Champions League for the very first time only to be defeated by the La Decima holders Real Madrid.
A set of Manchester City fans thinks the Chilean has failed to bring the Premier League title back to Etihad for the second season in a row, but there are some important factors to be considered why Manuel Pellegrini is not a failure as much as the titles project.
1. Best squad in England
Manchester City’s attacking line-up is easily the BEST in England and is without a doubt one of the very best attacking units in the whole Europe. Only the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich post an equally threatening force up front. Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Kevin de Bryune, Raheem Sterling !! Jesus Navas, Wilfred Bony, and Kelechi Iheanacho as backups. I can’t ask anything better than this if I were Pep Guardiola.
Not only the attacking unit, City’s midfield is one of the strongest in Europe. With veteran Yaya Toure leading the center, Fernando and Fendandinho add physical power and untiring energy to fuel City’s midfield. The way Real Madrid struggled to get past the resolute City midfielders in the first leg of Champions League Semi-final is an example how effective City’s midfield is.
City has arguably the best defensive unit in England. Vincent Kompany is almost impossible to crack when he is fully fit. Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy, and Bacary Sagna add experience and veteran strength to the backline. Elliaquam Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi’s youth gives City a strong hope in future. A manager who assembled a strong unit as City’s deserves credits.
2. Youth Progression
One thing that Manchester City did not do before Pellegrini’s time is the development of youth talents. They barely produced or used youth talents in the past before Pellegrini. Except Joe Hart who is the only youth player who made an impact with City’s first team prior to Pellegrini’s era. Though Roberto Mancini tuned the youth shop for good, he was not able to reap anything from it. But Pellegrini did achieve the feat of bringing in academy talents to City’s first team.
Kelechi Iheanacho, Manu Garcia, Aleix Garcia-Serrano, Brandon Barker, Bersant Celina, are some of the most impressive youths from manchester City academy who had tasted the first team chance this season. Especially the Serbian sensation Kelechi Iheanacho !! The 19-year-old has started 7 games for Pellegrini’s men this season in all competitions. Not a bad start for a progressing young talent.
3. Consistency in the Premier League
In his three years, Manchester City enjoyed some consistency in the English Premier League games. They did not finish out of the top 4 in the last three years. If not for the continuous injury concerns that City’s key players had this season, City would have finished in a better shape. Sergio Aguero, David Silva, and Vincent Kompany, the three pillars for City in three departments did not play all the games in their best shapes. They suffered injuries which hampered their performances a lot. Silla still has not recovered from his injury. Kompany is once again sidelined after injuring himself in the Champions League semi-final second leg.
Even without the likes of Aguero, Silva, and Kompany, City finished in the top 4 bettering city rivals Manchester United in a tough battle. Quite a mark to note down. Premier league is the most competitive league in the world and this season proved why it is as Leicester City came out as League winners from nowhere. Many can remember them as a relegation battle side from last season stats, but not even a die-hard Leicester fan would have imagined that the foxes will Crown the English Premier League.
4. European Competitions
Manuel Pellegrini’s impressive stats in the Champions League with Villareal and Malaga is the very first reason why Manchester City brought the former Real Madrid boss to Etihad. Though he did not achieve big things for City in the Elite competition, he did improve Manchester City’s progression in the Champions League. First, he was eliminated from the round 16 of the Champions League, again he lost in the round 16 in his second season. Finally, he reached the semi-finals for the first time in City’s history.
Except some nervy games due to the inexperience in the competition, City fared well in the European elite stage under Manuel Pellegrini. In all his three attempts, he was defeated only by a better opponent. Barcelona, Real Madrid like teams have very experienced players in the squad who can handle any amount of pressure with ease. Though City have some great players in the team, they are not as good as the Real Madrid or Barcelona players in the Champions League. But now, they are not. The semi-final against Real Madrid this season is a very good example why the Citizens are not the same side they were some years ago.
In short, Manuel Pellegrini left a perfect squad for Pep Guardiola with which the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss can win everything. Manchester City can go long ways in the future, but what Manuel Pellegrini did to them should be remembered with PRIDE.