Manchester City benefit from Pellegrini’s approach – and seek long term gains

After a Premier League season that delivered us an endless amount of drama and twists and turns at every stage, the 38th and final week of the 2013/14 for once went entirely according to plan.

Manchester City benefit from Pellegrini’s approach – and seek long term gains

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Andy

May 13th, 2014

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After a Premier League season that delivered us an endless amount of drama and twists and turns at every stage, the 38th and final week of the 2013/14 for once went entirely according to plan.

Not that Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City minded one bit. With ominous skies overhead greeting the arrival of players and fans alike at The Etihad you could be forgiven that a tense and nervy day lay ahead.

City went into the game in the knowledge that a point would be good enough, regardless of the result at Anfield, but it felt far from a foregone conclusion. The recent success it seems has not quite been enough yet to consign memories of ‘Typical City’ to the history books.

The 2011/12 title, stolen at the last in such high drama perhaps served as a cautionary note to this City side, the majority of whom were present that heart-stopping afternoon, that nothing could be taken for granted.

City though – despite leading the table for less than two weeks this season – were to prevail in comfortable fashion. No desperation in chasing the game in search of goals but a comfortable final half an hour, playing out their coronation as Champions in style with even the news that Liverpool had turned round preceedings at Anfield barely registering a murmur inside the ground.

Having secured their title on the final day after heading in as favourites, it is easy to forget that for so long this season Pellegrini and City have traversed under the radar. With games in hand they sat off the pace at the top: first Arsenal, then Chelsea and Liverpool assuming pole position and messrs. Rodgers, Mourinho and Wenger garnering (and courting) the headlines.

All the while Pellegrini continued about his business, never veering from his principles of playing attractive football, a commitment to a style of play he sees as being the right way to play. It hasn’t always been plain sailing for City this season though: a poor start away from home and disappointing exits in both the FA Cup and Champions League slightly clouded the season Pellegrini admitted, but he believed that such disappointments ‘were important’ and helped foster and develop a trust in his players.

This is a trust that clearly works both ways. In the immediate aftermath of the title victory Pellegrini’s players were quick to praise him. Joe Hart saying “he’s a winner, he wants us to win”, whilst Samir Nasri – certainly no fan of Roberto Mancini – praised Pellegrini’s unflappable demeanour: “He is a measured man and he believes in what he does.”

There was also some lovely TV footage of his players giving him the bumps as the celebrations kicked off in earnest, tossing him into the air in a way that you couldn’t imagine Mancini participating in, or his players being keen to involve him in for that matter.

For Pellegrini now though, there is a sense that this is just the beginning. Two trophies from his first season is a positive return but post-match the Chilean cautioned by saying “big teams cannot be satisfied with one title.” It may have been only slightly tongue in cheek when he said “Tuesday [we] start working for next season, because this club and players deserve more titles.”

Pellegrini is correct of course. Hope long gave way to expectation in the blue half of Manchester and even with potential Financial Fair Play sanctions looming no let up in City’s success will be expected, or tolerated. Pellegrini possesses talent at his disposal that is the envy of many a club, many of whom are at an age where they are in, or are reaching their prime.

This is not to say that City’s window is closing, but the next three to four years will be the years in which the club need to profit from the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Vincent Kompany. These key years will all be overseen by Pellegrini during his time in charge at The Etihad.

He has shown that he does not need the spotlight, preferring instead to let his side do his talking; at pains to state how much the manner in which the title was won was as important as victory itself (the ‘aesthetic’ as he continually referenced it).

City can look back with a real sense of achievement at this season just past. They have erased the memory of a dismal 2012/13 campaign, regaining the Premier League title in the process but rather than sit back contentedly at their reward they will strive to kick on and improve even further.

With Manuel Pellegrini in charge you sense they are most definitely moving in the right direction.

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