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Pellegrini: City did nothing behind my back over Guardiola

Outgoing Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini insists he has no problem with the club’s announcement that Pep Guardiola will replace him at the helm from the start of next season.

City confirmed on Monday that Guardiola would begin a three-year contract from 2016-17, in the immediate aftermath of Pellegrini stunning a pre-match news conference ahead of the midweek win at Sunderland by announcing the current campaign would be his last at the Etihad Stadium.

In their statement, City revealed they first made overtures to Guardiola in 2012 – with Pellegrini not appointed until the following year –  and the 62-year-old was at pains to point out his bosses kept him fully informed.

Addressing the assembled media before Saturday’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash against Leicester City, Pellegrini even made light of himself providing a dramatic moment at odds with his low-key persona.

“I was so bored in the last press conference that I tried to make it interesting,” he said.

“It’s not a relief – it’s important for everyone to know that I knew what was happening and that no-one was doing anything behind my back.

“It’s important to talk about this season and not the next one. I’m not talking about those things – we just talk about the present. Just ask me about the team and the game.

“The players must always think about the next game as it’s the only way to be successful. With or without the news, things in football change so quickly.”

The Leicester match begins a daunting run of fixtures, making Pellegrini’s focus on the present all the more pertinent.

Fellow title-rivals Tottenham are up next at home before an FA Cup trip to Chelsea precedes a return to Champions League action at Dynamo Kiev and the League Cup final against Liverpool.

Pellegrini has spoken regularly of his desire to compete strongly in all competitions but he suggested his hand would be forced to prioritise the Champions League if the FA Cup fifth-round tie is moved to Sunday, February 21 – the day before City are due to fly to Ukraine.

“If we have to play on the Sunday [at Chelsea] we will have to play with a young team,” he added.

Fri 5 Feb, 2016
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