Pellegrini’s style will win more trophies for City; denies that there is a ‘fixed system’
Under pressure Manuel Pellegrini was on the defensive today after Manchester City’s defeat to Liverpool at Anfield to two ‘beautiful goals’ on Sunday but he was insistant that his way was the best way to win more trophies and seemed to dismiss suggestions of a lack of motivation as a stretch of bad luck rather than a lack of progress.
“The first half was very close. In the second half it was very strange – I thought we would have a high pace and they must be tire but we started losing too many balls and keeping the ball in our own half.
“We had more possession than Liverpool and more options than them.
“They scored some very beautiful goals and maybe we had one hit the post that could have changed the result.” said the Chilean who was unconcerned with just two wins in nine matches.
The latest blow to this season’s title hopes has raised the inevitable questions about the Chilean’s tactical flexibility against elite sides and the motivation and form of some of his players this term.
In response, Pellegrini mounted a defence of his players and their commitment.
“We have had important restrictions with money and amounts of players so it was important to have alternatives in defence.
“It was better for Joe to have more competitive players behind him and Willy Cabellero is a complete goalkeeper and in that sense Joe has improved a lot this year compared with his performance last year.
“Bacary Sagna – Maybe he hasn’t played very often but when he has he has done well and he gives us another choice at full back as Micah Richards was always injured.
“Javier Garcia wanted to go so we changed him for Fernando, has had a normal performance this season.
“You might have some criticisms of Eliaquim Mangala but he is improving. He is a young player and I am sure he will have an important future for this club.”
“It’s difficult to analyse the season at this moment. Maybe we can go through the same months of February and March as last year when the criticisms were the same last year as this year.
“This team has the hunger to win titles. Only Chelsea are better than us domestically. We must finish the season in a Champions League spot.
“I think the team has the hunger to continue to win more titles and we must continue to try till the end of the season.” said Pellegrini.
When pressed about likely starters for Wednesday game against Leicester City, the Chilean confirmed that he had a full squad to choose from but would not confirm if he intended to give any specific players, such as captain Vincent Kompany, a rest.
“The whole team is fit. We will see two or three different players depending on how they recover from Sunday.”
Pellegrini also sidestepped speculation over the future and continued to back his own style of play over any imperative to win titles every season.
“I have won two titles here in England but even if I win titles and I am not happy with the team maybe I won’t continue with the club.
“Sometimes you might not win a title and continue with the club.” said the Chilean.
“Last year we played Barcelona with one striker, and this year with two strikers. We’ve played against Chelsea and dominated the game but nobody talked about strikers.
“The number of strikers is not the reason we lost against Barcelona 2-1 and Liverpool 2-1; even with no strikers Barca would dominate possession of the ball because of the style that they play.
“We have a style of play but it’s not only just one style of play. We played four or five games with no strikers and other games like Arsenal with just one striker. There is no fixed system.”
Pellegrini refused to discuss other managers such as Jose Mourinho, whose Chelsea team won the Capital One Cup at Wembley soon after City’s defeat at Anfield.
“Maybe when you are winning you do all the things in the best way and when you don’t win you do all the things in a bad way.
“Mourinho won the Capital One Cup – last year we won the same Capital One Cup and at that moment I did all the things correct.
“There are different ways to win titles. I prefer my style and I choose my style because I believe we will win more titles playing that way.”