Can Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini win all four trophies this season?

The Chilean equates style with substance and is visibly growing in confidence at Manchester City

There was one conundrum waiting for Manuel Pellegrini when he first arrived in Manchester. How could a man who had never won a major trophy in European football meet chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak's target of five in as many years?

He could win four in a single season – a unique achievement in English football. It is improbable, but anyone who watched City score against Bayern Munich or four against Manchester United or five against CSKA Moscow or six against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal or seven against Norwich City might not think it impossible.

The midweek 6-0 demolition of West Ham United in rain that was intense even by Manchester standards has virtually guaranteed them a place in the League Cup final.

However, as someone who failed to win La Liga with a Real Madrid side that scored 102 goals and amassed 96 points, Pellegrini is cautious when it comes to talk of multiple trophies – but less cautious than he has been during a season that has seen City average nearly three goals a game.

He admitted that his target is to "win all four competitions" though added: "It is impossible to know because one match can decide the title," he said. "I think you have more chances if you continue playing the same way. It is not just by continuing to attack but by playing complete football – attacking, trying to defend and having possession. It is about trying to do a lot of things in 90 minutes. I won a lot of titles in my career in South America.

"In Europe, it is very difficult. I don't have any problems [with my record] in that sense. To win titles with Villarreal or Malaga is impossible but I am absolutely sure I'll be very happy here if I can win a title with Manchester City. But it is not just to win the title that is important; it is how I win it."

One of Pellegrini's managerial heroes was Rinus Michels, the man who conceived Total Football. There has been something of that in the City side this season. They have scored 57 goals in 20 League games and at this rate they will overtake Chelsea's Premier League record of 103 goals set in 2009-10.

"It is a similar way to how we played at Real Madrid," said Pellegrini. "In that season we scored 102 goals and took 96 points. It was the best record Real Madrid had at that time. How did I feel when we didn't win the League? Well, whatever I think is not important. We did pretty good work but we had an incredible Barcelona side against us."

Next month he faces a slightly less incredible Barcelona for a place in the Champions' Leauge quarter-finals. Before they met Bayern Munich, coach Pep Guardiola remarked that if City made it out of their group, they might run wild in the competition.

"If you beat Barcelona, you would like to think you are confident that anything can happen," said City's captain, Vincent Kompany. "The question is whether we will go out with six offensive players or whether we will be more contained?"

On this question of approach, Pellegrini is clear. "You can change your style, of course you can, because during a game you might not be doing things well but you cannot change your style when you have to play an important game," he said. "You must tell the players that we are not going to change."

Pellegrini sees himself at the Etihad for another five years, which is four more than he got at Madrid. There he had £234 million worth of players bought for him, including Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema but little in the way of high-quality defenders. He remarked that it was "no good having an orchestra with the 10 best guitarists if you don't have a pianist or a drummer".

The Champions' League final was to be staged at the Bernabeu and when Real got nowhere near it, losing to Lyon in the last 16, the president, Florentino Perez, stopped talking to him. His successor, Jose Mourinho, remarked that, if he had been sacked by Madrid, he wouldn't have gone off to manage in a backwater like Malaga.

However, Malaga gave Pellegrini the kind of control he did not have in Madrid but which he does have in Manchester. "I always say that when you have managed one of the important clubs in Argentina, you are able to take the pressure anywhere," said a man who had to go into hiding when losing the Buenos Aires derby with River Plate.

"The most important pressure is that which you put on yourself. In Madrid I felt the same pressure as I did at Villarreal and now in Manchester. I think here in England some years ago managers were not so easily sacked from their jobs.

"Now, the patience is not so strong as before, but I think you can establish your work here more than in other countries. Manchester City wanted me to come here.

"I had other options with other clubs in important countries but the most important reason I came here was that Manchester City wanted to play the way I wanted."

Newcastle United v Manchester City is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 2.05pm

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
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

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform