One trophy down, two to go.
The League Cup final always announces the fact that business end of the season is fast approaching, and City’s penalty shootout win against Liverpool at Wembley was the best possible start to this period for the Manuel Pellegrini and his men.
To say that Pellegrini has every right to be irritated at the City hierarchy’s decision to remove him from his post in a few months time would be an understatement.
To the impartial observer, Pellegrini has been a breath of fresh air at City, after the Roberto Mancini reign, and the way that he is being disposed of to make way for footballing flavour of the month Pep Guardiola is very shabby indeed.
Lest we forget, Pellegrini was summoned to City to deliver exciting football to the Etihad; to marry the winning intent already established by Mancini with adventurous and attacking football. In this he has succeeded by the bucketload.
Not only has he got the very best out of players like Sergio Aguero and David Silva, he has made a point of buying young British talent in Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, and done everything he can to give them game time.
Watching City has been exciting, and although he hasn’t won the title every year (who can in this day and age?), what he has done is deliver up sumptuous football on a regular basis.
And yet he’s going. If I was him, I’d be thoroughly miffed. And what’s more, I’d be doing everything in my power to leave the City board with egg on their face at the end of my tenure.
You see, the board obviously feel that they’re buying success AND total football with Guardiola, but here’s the thing – he’s never managed in England before. He’s not even coached in England before. Which to me makes his success in England a long way from a foregone conclusion.
Anyway, back to the ‘egg on face’. What better parting gift for Pellegrini to deliver his soon to be ex-bosses than not just one trophy, but three?
He has already secured the League Cup, and were he to win one of the Premier League or the Champions League, he would effectively make a mockery of the decision to present him with his P45.
City win their 5th major trophy in the last 6 seasons and the 3rd of the Pellegrini era. pic.twitter.com/GNpR0yz3IJ
— City Watch (@City_Watch) February 28, 2016
Whilst the league looks a long shot, it is by no means out of their reach – it is certainly possible for them to close the gap. In addition, City have looked impressive in Europe this term, and although they won’t be many bookies’ favourites, they aren’t exactly a side that you’d be thrilled to face in the quarters of the competition.
In short, Pellegrini has a massive opportunity to leave Manchester with his head held high, and although I’m no City fan, I wouldn’t begrudge him a triumphal finale – he deserves one after the way he’s been treated.
Today’s League Cup final victory came in Manuel Pellegrini’s 150th game as Man City manager pic.twitter.com/mGss4Jy6Zy
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 28, 2016