June 14, 2013
Manchester City sacked manager Roberto Mancini with two games remaining on the Premier League schedule, but the team had a plan ready to replace him. Per a long-expected announcement, former Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini will take over as manager, according to the team's official website.
The report indicates Pellegrini will begin his tenure on June 24. Said the manager:
I am delighted to accept this hugely exciting opportunity. The Club has a clear vision for success both on and off the pitch and I am committed to making a significant contribution.
Everything is in place for Manchester City to continue to be successful and I am excited to be able to work with such a talented squad, the Executive team and the Board to deliver for fans who are renowned for their steadfast support.
Club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak commented on the hiring, according to the same report:
Manuel is a hugely experienced and successful manager with a proven track record. We have been greatly impressed throughout the selection process by his philosophy, his attitude and his commitment to the long term development of Manchester City. I am delighted that he has joined us.
Team CEO Ferran Soriano had this to say:
Manuel is a very experienced coach with a recognised ability to get the most out of his players and build cohesive teams. He shares the Cub’s approach to football and our ambition to achieve onfield success, coordinating with the wider football support teams to ensure natural progression from the Academy to senior level.
Pellegrini resigned from Malaga (via BBC) in May after leading the team to the Champions League quarterfinals this season, its first trip to the premier European tournament. He spent two years with the club.
Malaga fell to sixth on the table this year, however, after Santi Cazorla, Joris Mathijsen, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Jose Rondon departed the club, levying a complaint that wages were going unpaid. The club's failure to pay its debts would eventually lead to UEFA handing Malaga a one-year ban from the next European tournament for which it qualified.
With Malaga inexplicably cutting costs across the board—owner Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani surprisingly slashed the team's budget last summer—Pellegrini was unable to lead the team to another top-four finish.
He'll take over for a Manchester City club that doesn't lack in wages but nonetheless disappointed this past season. With a gigantic payroll and a wealth of talent, City finished second on the Premier League table, didn't advance past the group stage in the Champions League and inexplicably lost the FA Cup final to Wigan, a team that was relegated to lower-level competition following the season.
That was enough to get Mancini sacked before the season even ended.
Pellegrini isn't new to high-profile, high-budget teams, as he was the manager at Real Madrid for the 2009-10 season but was fired after just one season. He also managed at Villarreal from 2004 to 2009, where he led the Spanish club to its first Champions League berth (and a place in the semifinals in 2006).
After years of experience in La Liga, Pellegrini will have to adjust to the different styles and environments found in the Premier League. But with a giant budget, a loaded roster and a history of guiding teams to previously unattainable heights, he should do just fine in Manchester.
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