Manuel Pellegrini future: Manchester City manager comes out fighting and insists City not 'desperate' for Premier League title

The Chilean is under pressure following defeats to Barcelona and Liverpool

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Manuel Pellegrini on Tuesday delivered the most emotive performance of his 21-month tenure as Manchester City manager, declaring that the way his team develop – not the trophies won – is the real measure of progress. He also insisted the club’s Abu Dhabi owners are not “desperate” for silverware this season.

With City ready to change manager this summer if it is felt Pellegrini has failed to improve and develop the squad, the Chilean quoted the “five trophies in five seasons” target chief executive Ferran Soriano publicly set after hiring him and insisted: “I was never told I must win a title every year.”

For a manager who is usually so taciturn and has made an art form of saying nothing in his press conferences, Pellegrini’s defence of his work – which included a reference to how City had been limited by the strictures of their Financial Fair Play punishment last summer – suggested that he feels his Etihad position is under threat. City, who entertain Leicester City on Wednesday night, have fallen five points adrift of Chelsea after playing one more game and must overcome a 2-1 Champions League round-of-16 first-leg deficit at the Nou Camp in two weeks.

“When I signed the contract, I was never told I must win a title every year or [even] that I must win five trophies in five years. [That] was a sentence [from] Ferran. That is perfectly normal,” said Pellegrini, who won the Premier League title and Capital One Cup in his first year.

“But maybe you can win two in one year and one in another. The other another two. You never know in football. There are different ways to analyse the season. The title is important but it is not the only important thing.”


He also insisted that the quality of his relationship with Soriano and the owners was irrelevant to his employment prospects.

“It’s not about relationships,” he said. “I can have a bad relationship with the owners but it’s a project and it’s about how you manage this project. Every project can have difficult moments. I think you have the wrong opinion about the owners of this club.

“They are not so desperate to win titles. They want to improve. They do want to win titles but they want to do it completely [with the right brand of football]. Maybe you are wrong about what I think. I want to win titles and I have done it in South America and here. But for me it’s not just about winning titles.

“The most important thing for me is to try and continue playing with a style of play that we are not going to change. It is the best way we must win.”

Pellegrini defended City’s poor record in the transfer market, which has arguably seen no outstanding signing in the past three and a half years.

There had been “important restrictions about money and the number of players” last summer he said. He also insisted that Javi Garcia had “wanted to go” so had to be replaced with Fernando, who had been “normal” – which seemed to be Pellegrini’s way of saying “OK”. He did not deny that the “criticisms” of Eliaquim Mangala were fair. “But he’s improving and he’ll be an important player for this club in the future,” the Chilean added.

Of the question marks about his own future, he said: “It doesn’t affect me. When you’re at a big team, you always receive criticism when you don’t win.” But the manner of his delivery suggested otherwise.