Manuel Pellegrini may have let his League Cup success go to his head as the Manchester City manager momentarily forgot who he is in charge of, having claimed he loves the pressure of managing a “big team like Manchester United”.
The 60-year-old made the rather large error in an interview shortly after the final whistle, with the Chilean still soaking up the celebrations on the Wembley Stadium pitch.
Having seen his side overturn a one-goal deficit thanks to two wonder-strikes from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri – plus a third late on from winger Jesus Navas – Pellegrini made the slip-up when he was asked how he deals with the pressure of such an occasion.
Manchester City 3 Sunderland 1 player ratings
Manchester City 3 Sunderland 1 player ratings
1/24 Costel Pantilimon 5/10
Could do little about the opening goal and had few shots to deal with. Not always convincing though, with the odd wayward punch.
2/24 Pablo Zabaleta 5/10
Frustrating first half as chances to get forward were limited but became more involved in the second period and laid on the pass for Toure’s goal.
3/24 Vincent Kompany 7/10
Surprisingly outdone by Borini for the opening goal but more than made up for it, particularly with a last-ditch challenge on Sunderland’s goalscorer.
4/24 Martin Demichelis 5/10
Continues to look a weak link in the Manchester City side, but did enough in this match to keep Sunderland from scoring again. Strong in the air.
5/24 Aleksandar Kolarov 7/10
Delivered the ball for Nasri’s goal and was a constant threat down the left with consistent deliveries. Dreadful clearance late on.
6/24 Fernandinho 7/10
Made vital tackles throughout the match and began to dominate the centre of the park. His challenge on Alonso started move for final goal.
7/24 Yaya Toure 7/10
A jaded performance was sparked into life by a quite brilliant curled strike. Played further forward in later stages and set up Navas’s winner.
8/24 Samir Nasri 8/10
Among City’s best performers, combining with his fellow midfielders and opening up Sunderland’s defence. First-time shot to score was sublime.
9/24 Sergio Aguero 7/10
Proved he was fit and ready for the final with some excellent touches and frightening pace. Showed great control in build-up to second goal.
10/24 David Silva 7/10
Usual brilliant self, with quick tidy passing constantly giving Sunderland something to think about. At times overplayed it and was taken off.
11/24 Edin Dzeko 4/10
Failed to influence the game, with his first touch letting him down. Managed to waste some time when withdrawn for Negredo.
12/24 Best of the bench: Jesus Navas 7/10
Pace was a threat when he came on for Aguero, helping to keep Sunderland pegged back. Scored the final goal with well-placed effort inside near post.
13/24 Vito Mannone 6/10
Could do nothing about the first two goals, which were struck brilliantly. Got a hand on the third but power took it past him. Otherwise good.
14/24 Phil Bardsley 7/10
Strong tackle on Silva early on showed he was up for this one. Crucial interception inside his own six-yard box with Nasri looking to find a team-mate.
15/24 Marcos Alonso 6/10
Was not tight enough to Nasri for the second goal but did well to limit City’s progress down their right in the first half. Tired in the second period
16/24 Wes Brown 6/10
Solid throughout, winning numerous headers when City tried to play the ball long, helping to keep Dzeko quiet. Headed just over from a corner
17/24 John O’Shea 6/10
The veteran defender showed he still has a bit in the tank when he needs it, managing to keep pace with both Aguero and Navas, just, and make crucial tackles.
18/24 Lee Cattermole 7/10
Showed desire to get on the ball whenever he could and leadership in abundance. Good pass selection, although made occasional errors.
19/24 Jack Colback 6/10
Put in strong tackles throughout and showed his ability to deliver a dangerous cross from the left. Did not always get the better of Zabaleta, however.
20/24 Adam Johnson 6/10
Exquisite pass with outside of the boot set up Borini’s goal. However, failed to repeat his recent good form and was withdrawn after an hour.
21/24 Sebastian Larsson 6/10
Played in a central position and was involved in Sunderland’s best moves during the first half. Less influential in the second and replaced after an hour.
22/24 Ki Sung-yueng 8/10
Assured touches in central areas and looked to take his team forward whenever he received the ball. Stung palms of Pantilimon from range.
23/24 Fabio Borini 6/10
Scored with great calmness to put Sunderland in the lead. Should perhaps have doubled advantage when in on goal again. Faded as game went on.
24/24 Best of the bench: Steven Fletcher 4/10
Decent chance inside box but could only shoot straight at Pantilimon. Provided focal point up front but touch let him down badly when in good position.
“I love pressure - to manage a big team like Manchester United and to [be competing in] all the competitions is very good for all of us,” said Pellegrini.
“We’re the only club that still has the chance to continue trying to win all the competitions and this will give us a lot of confidence.”
Even though United manager David Moyes is under pressure, the likelihood that Pellegrini will be lured to the red half of Manchester is unthinkable. And given the success on Sunday handing City their third trophy in three years, we don’t think fans will be calling for Pellegrini’s head over this one.