The mid-season announcement of Pep Guardiola’s summer arrival at Manchester City has received mixed responses from pundits and fans. All agree that the managerial change was correct, but the timing has been lambasted. Many have offered sympathy to Manuel Pellegrini, who was the victim in the switch. However, the whole situation has benefited the Chilean, and here’s why.
Manchester City currently sit 4th in the Premier League – 12 points from the summit after losses to title rivals Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur coupled with a draw with lowly Norwich – and have significantly underachieved this season considering the additions made to the squad in the summer transfer window.
Cross-city rivals Manchester United have been criticised for allowing Louis Van Gaal to remain at the helm of the club despite a run of poor results and unattractive football. The former Netherlands coach is just one point adrift of Pellegrini’s side and, with the Citizens supposedly having a more talented group of players, this is something that has not gone unnoticed by the fans.
The media, however, appear to have overlooked City’s run of just seven victories in 20 Premier League outings purely because of the well-timed announcement confirming the suspicions of football fans that the most successful manager in the last decade would become Pellegrini’s successor.
This wasn’t an accident.
Pellegrini was quickly becoming more aware that he was beginning to lose the dressing room because of constant speculation surrounding his future at the club so, on Deadline Day, he acted promptly and publically revealed that he would leave the club at the end of the season.
Manchester City’s official website, later that day, revealed that Guardiola would be taking over on a three-year deal from June 30.
Media attention away from Pellegrini? *tick*
The Chilean is yet to be questioned on why his team have been performing so poorly because ‘experts’ and pundits immediately put it down to the fact that the players have been distracted by the announcement.
The ship was already sinking before the 1st February and that news just threw the anchor into the water.
Pellegrini is so out-of-favour in some fans’ books, including mine, that they are still calling for his head and hoping that the City hierarchy will appoint an interim boss until the end of the season.
That feeling is justified. The Sky Blues remain without a win against any of the top five in the league this season and nine league losses – more than in any of City’s title-winning terms.
Ex-players and pundits have also mentioned how the whole situation makes Pellegrini look like ‘the bigger man’ but have yet to realise that the ex-Malaga boss was, in fact, the orchestrator of the plot that has left himself out of the spotlight for the remainder of his stay at the Etihad campus.
The tactical move from Pellegrini leaves him in a position where his success at Manchester City will be celebrated and his faults forgotten.
The Engineer certainly put in some effort to get this plan in motion.