Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes he made the wrong decision to reveal mid-season that he would be leaving the club for Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola to succeed him.
City were three points adrift in the title race at the time, but went on to scrape a top-four finish after the news broke, but is Pellegrini dressing up his own shortcomings with excuses?
City were bad before Pellegrini’s revelation
Pellegrini announced the news of his impending departure in early February. At the time, Manchester City were second in the Premier League table with 47 points from 24 games. They were enjoying a seven-game unbeaten run and only three points off leaders Leicester City. However, the Sky Blues suffered three consecutive league defeats after the revelation and Pellegrini believes it’s all linked. But are there any underlying factors?
City’s three defeats came against Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, but it’s worth noting that Pellegrini only picked up a point in the first round of fixtures against the aforementioned trio so there’s little evidence that results would have been different in those games. City, in fact, picked up just one win against sides in the top-eight of the Premier League table in 2015/16.
Pellegrini endured two disappointing seasons after winning the title
The 2013/14 title winners had already suffered five league defeats even before the new year, and failed to win back-to-back league games between mid-October and April. The problems were clearly present long before Pellegrini announced the news, so to use it as an excuse is dishonest, especially if taking credit for leading the side to the Champions League semi-final the same season.
The Chilean was fortunate to keep his job in the summer after such struggles in 2014/15. City were fourth in the Premier League after 32 games before six wins on the bounce had them finish second. In addition to a last-16 exit in the Champions League, they suffered premature eliminations from the FA Cup and Capital One Cup, while losing the Community Shield for their troubles.
City well within in their right to replace Pellegrini
But the club stuck by their man and it backfired horrifically in their third season, albeit winning a Capital One Cup trophy. Pellegrini spent three years at the Etihad Stadium, spending over £300M on new players, and comes away with one league title and two League Cups to his name.
Not a woeful return, but given they haven’t come close to winning the title in the last two years, his departure isn’t that unexpected. Manuel Pellegrini is 9/2 to be appointed as Everton’s next manager, so he may well get to face his former side in 2016/17.