Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini believes any big club that misses out on qualifying for the Champions League should be considered to have had a “disastrous season”.
City, who lost to Real Madrid in the semi-final of this year’s competition, have not yet guaranteed their spot for 2016-17 ahead of Sunday’s visit of fellow hopefuls Arsenal.
Rivals Manchester United could overhaul them to grab a top-four berth in the Premier League, with West Ham also an outside bet to sneak in.
Pellegrini is coming to the end of his tenure at the Etihad Stadium, but is glad to have avoided the fate that has befallen the likes of United and Liverpool in recent years, with Chelsea the latest leading club forced to face up to the prospect of not having a seat at Europe’s top table.
The Chilean, who will be replaced by Pep Guardiola for next season, said: “I think for fans in England the most important thing is the Premier League, after that the Champions League.
“If you are not in the four positions in the Champions League and demonstrating you are among the best teams in England, for me it’s a disastrous season.
“That’s why I always say, especially last year when we didn’t win any titles, it’s not a disaster. No it’s not a good season, but it’s a disaster when you are not involved in the Champions League.
“That’s for all the big teams in England. Of course if you are not in the first four positions of the Premier League and you win the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Capital One – that’s a very good season!”
The 62-year-old won the Premier League and two League Cups with City, while the run to the last four of this season’s Champions League marks the club’s best performance in the competition.
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