You can have the best looking steakhouse, blessed with extraordinary architect and a staff considered as eye candy by society’s standards to please the restaurant-goers, however, the crucial aspect that will keep customers happy is substance. Your steak is subpar? No worries, I’ll head down the street. That example is relevant with the clubs managed by Manuel Pellegrini over the years. Sure, his teams epitomize joga bonito football, but often they will fall short of winning when it matters – maybe the “specialist in failure” comment should have been redirected.
Some may bring up his achievements with Villarreal and Malaga as a counter-argument. Pellegrini turned two decent teams into dark horses twice in the Champions League — Villarreal in 2005-06, and in his final season with Malaga, who was only a couple minutes away from knocking out the eventual runners up in one of the most thrilling matches ever in the Champions League knockout stages. Those two seasons were arguably his biggest achievements since moving to Europe as a coach. Pellegrini came close with Real Madrid, but he found out rather quickly that close does not cut it when you’re blessed with a team of galacticos.
Not surprisingly, Manchester City is playing quite an impressive brand of soccer and sometimes leaving teams at their mercy because of their free-flowing attack. The current squad plays with more fluidity and creativity than in the Mancini Era, where fans were struggling to stay awake during a plethora of arid displays. Now that Pellegrini has the support of fans and the public, the only challenge is to win a title, which would push that heavy monkey on off his back.
Manchester City is currently in contention for the treble, but they still have ways to go before fans can get excited about that prospect. FC Barcelona will attack them with a vengeance and there are still pivotal games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United on the schedule. After beating Chelsea FC today relatively easy, the FA Cup trophy is likely the path with the fewest roadblocks.
The second half of the season will be telling for Pellegrini. With this current talent at his disposal, a trophy-less season will be considered as a failure to many and he will surely face an appraisal by the public. He may be saved from the sack this season, but if next year is a replica with no titles, then excuses won’t be enough to warrant him an extra year. Manchester United and Arsenal will surely improve their squads this upcoming summer, therefore, this season may be the best and easiest for Pellegrini to show his worth.