City Blogger: Tried, tested and trusted.
- 13 May 2014 11:46
- Posted by @djwskyblu
The sky blue and white ribbons were already tethered to the Premier League trophy when the Manchester City fans finally, with less than 10 minutes of the season remaining, finally burst into song with ‘We’re gonna win the League, we’re gonna win the League...’
A two goal lead over West Ham, a two point advantage over Liverpool and two titles in three years, and yet only at the last knockings did the Etihad faithful feel it was prudent to proclaim the obvious.
Maybe it was unduly cautious, but it was the polar opposite of what had been sung loudly, albeit prematurely and, as it turned out, wholly inappropriately, on the streets of Liverpool for several weeks.
It was as if the City support had quelled their natural exuberance and adopted the lead set by their manager, a man not given to arrogance, idle boasts or insidious innuendo.
Manuel Pellegrini is a man of dignity, purpose and decorum. Unlike others he doesn’t crave media attention, doesn’t lob sound bites around like live grenades and isn’t lured into the adolescent utterances of others, glamorously gift-wrapped as sophisticated ‘mind games’.
His calm self assurance and professionalism has imbued his players to perform in similar style, as evidenced by a run of five straight wins after the desperately disappointing 2-2 home draw with Sunderland.
Ironically it was the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland last November that represented the lowest point of the season – City’s fourth defeat in the league after just 11 games.
There were some who doubted City had the right man at the helm. They should have had more faith and trusted the club’s ‘MP’.
A run of 20 games undefeated had people upwardly revising their opinion as City raced to 100 league and cup goals.
By early 2014 the manager had earned his stripes in the eyes of the fans, evidenced by a nifty little ditty involving a Lamborghini.
The Engineer charts a steady course, one that encompasses attractive entertaining football, a man-management style that is inclusive, transparent and breeds contentment – no mean feat in a squad where everybody wants to play, but only so many can.
Upon his appointment last summer much was made in the media of Pellegrini’s apparent lack of success in ‘European’ football – Spanish to be more precise.
Last season his Malaga team was literally seconds away from a Champions League semi final, before Borussia Dortmund scored a blatantly offside ‘goal’ to snatch a controversial win.
In five years at Villarreal, Pellegrini transformed one of La Liga’s ‘minnows’ into a real contender, taking them to the last four of the Champions League. He also broke up the 1st & 2nd finishing monopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid by grabbing runner’s up spot..
In his sole season at Real Madrid, he amassed the club’s biggest ever points haul (at that time) of 96 – just three behind an all conquering Barcelona at the peak of their powers. Madrid subsequently sacked him!
Pellegrini isn’t accorded due credit for his record in his native South America, winning a trio of league titles, one in Ecuador and two in Argentina with San Lorenzo and River Plate, along with numerous domestic cup successes and the Copa Mercosur – the equivalent of the Europa League.
How ironic then, that he should be the first South American to win the Premier League after delivering the title and League Cup in one season – making it City’s most successful ever.
From a personal perspective he carried the burden of the death of his mother shortly after joining City, having lost his father a few months prior.
How many of us could move to a new country, job, culture, environment and challenges, away from loved ones and grieving for a parent and achieve in the momentous way as the 60-year old Chilean?
One of the most heart warming sights amid Sunday’s celebrations was Manuel, the husband, father and grandfather as his family joined him on the Etihad pitch for his finest football hour.
It was equally joyous to see the serious man from Santiago sporting a beaming smile as his players threw him up in the air half-a-dozen times in a celebratory salute.
The plaudits, respect and warmth he engenders is sincere and thoroughly merited. Curiously he missed out on the LMA Manager of the Year Award to go with his team’s trophies, but that won’t bother him unduly – he’s a team player.
Pellegrini is the embodiment of a club that oozes integrity, style and ambition.
Tasked by City with winning five trophies in five years (nothwithstanding he’s on a three year contract) 2013/14 represents a sterling start.
Make no mistake, this isn’t job done, this is the beginning of a drive that will deliver silverware at a rate of knots, one that will match the past achievements of City’s red brethren in Trafford Borough.
Taking that Italian supercar to Spain to bring him back to Manchester was a very worthwhile trip...there’s plenty of mileage left in Manuel’s tank.
By David Walker
www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu