Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini has always had a very defined style: he is an educated man –holds a civil engineering degree from Chile’s University–, he is quiet and respectful, and not even a year coaching Real Madrid, under the continuous fire of Spain’s most radical sports press was able to change that.
Since he arrived at Manchester City, where he relieved Roberto Mancini of his duties after three years in the club, Pellegrini has shown the same integrity he did in years past in Malaga, Villarreal or River Plate, places in which he left a great reputation as, not only a magnificent coach, but an even better person.
The simplicity and effectiveness of Manuel Pellegrini
That simplicity and effectiveness in everything he does has been very well received at City, a team used to dealing with the eccentricities of their former coach, but also with those of star players like Mario Balotelli, Joey Barton or Robinho.
The Citizens sit far from the top of the stands in terms on table positions (4th) eight games into the Premier League, but quite closer when you look at the points of the top four squads. Just three points keep ManCity from Arsenal, the present league leader, and something seems to suggest Pellegrini’s squad will be battling for the first spot alongside Mourinho and Wenger by the end of the season.
The Chilean coach and his team arrived in Manchester with a very clear goal: to bring back the Premier League title. Mancini won it two years ago, in the last second of the last match, thanks to a Hail Mary play executed by Sergio Agüero, but the Baby Blue squad failed to make it a trend as last year they –again—couldn’t make it past the first phase of the Champions League, and ended up the local tournament 11 points shy of cross-town rival Manchester United.
The investment, of course, was not an issue. Negredo and Navas were brought in from Sevilla at the tune of 45 million euros, while Jovetic from Fiorentina was signed for 28 million. Fernandinho, with a record breaking 40 million euros, and Martin Demichellis on a last minute transfer from Atletico Madrid, were the other big signings that arrived to a club already packed with stars like Agüero, Toure, Silva, Nasri, Milner or Dzeko.
The team has started in an upward trend, displaying a much more attacking style than fans were used to under Mancini, while of course this has meant they have had to deal with some setbacks on defense. However, the overall feeling is that Manchester City is today a much more solid team than it was in the last few seasons.
Agüero remains the team’s leader, assisted by Yaya Toure, the true compass in the middle, and Fernandinho. On the flanks, Navas, Nasri and Silva have been rotating for now, as Pellegrini loves to prepare his teams so they are at their peak of performance in the later stages of the season. Up top, Dzeko and Negredo battle for the striker spot to play alongside Kun Agüero.
Manuel Pellegrini’s achievement
Perhaps Pellegrini’s most important achievement is the fact that all players seem to understand they have a chance to play –thanks to his rotation system—and they are all very close to their best shape in years.
Players like Nasri or Kolarov, who haven’t been able to show their best attributes during their time in the team, are actually coming into play more and more, and even Dzeko, who has for a long time been considered “just” a goal scorer –given his proneness to disconnect from the rest of the work associated with playing for the team—has seen Negredo’s competition as a reason to become more involved.
Manuel Pellegrini could take credit for all of these positive changes, but that’s just not his style. He will remain quiet, working to make the team better, and hoping his work pays off. If not, Pellegrini and his staff will just reboot and start over, without the need to start any drama or point fingers at anyone.