Manchester City 1 Wigan Athletic 2: Manuel Pellegrini says FA Cup defeat was 'the worst performance of my time here'

City were shocked at the Etihad Stadium in a repeat of last year's final

After seeing his faint hopes of a unique quadruple extinguished, Manuel Pellegrini condemned his players for the worst performance of his time at the Etihad Stadium.

The Manchester City manager said his players underestimated the club that beat them in last year’s FA Cup final and only reacted when it was too late. “I think it is the worst of my time here because we did not have the pace to play against a team who find themselves in a very good moment,” he said. “Maybe my players did not think it would be too difficult. When we reacted it was too late.

“This match was two games in one. The first was from minute one to 46 and only then did we react,” said Pellegrini, who added that he was not surprised when Wigan lined up with three centre-backs. “ We knew precisely how Wigan would play. It is perhaps difficult to say we were unlucky but I think we could have drawn the game. I do know that we could have defended better.”

This was not the first cup shock of Pellegrini’s career, while at Real Madrid he endured being knocked out of the Copa del Rey, beaten 4-0 by second-tier Alcorcon. However, as he tries to recover his squad before their unlikely attempt to overturn a two-goal deficit at Barcelona, who lost to Valladolid at the weekend, his powers of motivation will be fully stretched. He had rested the cream of his defence – Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart and Aleksandar Kolarov – against Wigan and seen their understudies perform like second-raters. “It was a special week after the Capital One Cup,” he said. “We have won one trophy and we still have a lot to fight for, starting against Barcelona, and we will be trying to reach the top of the table with our three games in hand.”

Manchester City’s cup runs and the storm that caused the postponement of their league fixture against Sunderland has left them nine points adrift of Chelsea, and Jose Mourinho’s statement that City are still favourites for the Premier League cannot be taken seriously. Aside from Arsenal in 1998, there have been very few clubs who have capitalised on games in hand to win the title at this stage of the season.

 

For his counterpart, this was a joyous, if bittersweet moment against the club he had followed to Wembley twice as a fan after leaving Maine Road 16 years ago. Uwe Rösler had studied not only last year’s FA Cup final but the league game at the Etihad Stadium that preceded it. Then, Roberto Martinez’s side had narrowly lost 1-0 after stifling City’s attacking threat.

“I studied Roberto’s tactics,” said Rösler. “He put out a very brave game plan and played the league game almost to perfection. I tried to replicate parts of it with a willingness to attack through our wing-backs.

“A lot of teams show Manchester City a lot of respect – and with good reason. But I felt that, if we sat back, defended and tried for the odd counter-attack, we would have no chance. Our only chance to win was to keep the ball in attacking areas.

“I am drained and happy and already focusing on Wednesday night’s league game because, if we want promotion, that is a massive game for us. I wanted us to do well for Ben Watson [who scored Wigan’s cup final winner last May but badly broke his leg in February]. I wanted us to do well for our supporters.

“Winning the FA Cup last season was an unbelievable achievement but to defend it and go back to Wembley again is an equally strong achievement. We have played 52 games already – the most of any English club. The squad has been stretched to its maximum but we did not come here and park the bus. The players deserve all the credit in the world. I have been to Wembley for a play-off final with Brentford but, yes, this is my greatest achievement as a manager.”

Read more: Manchester City 1 Wigan 2 match report
FA Cup Sunday - as it happened
Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
News
An Apple iPhone 6 stands on display at the Apple Store
businessRegulators give iPhone 6 and 6 Plus the green light
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britain's internet habits have been revealed in a new survey
tech
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style