After the sacking of Roberto Mancini following a below par season for cash-rich Manchester City, there was much hype as to who his successor would be.
The club recently stated that current Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini was to take over the reins, confirming what most fans long suspected. Most football pundits were quick to state that the Chilean, who led Malaga to the quarter-inals of the Champions League in their maiden appearance in the competition, was the ideal man for the job.
But is this indeed the case? Can Pellegrini be the manager who can finally satisfy the immensely demanding owners of the club? We examine the fact here.
While Pellegrini has done a commendable job at almost every club he has managed, the experience at Manchester City is definite to be different from any that he has previously been at.
While he has managed clubs in his native Chile, Argentina and Spain with much distinction, the English game is one that is much different from the best of that in these countries.
Wherein these leagues predominantly play possession based football, the physical component gains predominance in the English game. Even though his players are well used to dealing with physically strong players day in and day out, it remains to be seen if the Chilean can implement his system and find success in a different type of league.
Another problem that may confront Pellegrini on the job is the difference in playing style. Contrary to common belief, Pellegrini did not pursue a possession-based game at Malaga, with the Andalusian club having had just 52% possession in their games throughout the season.
The same was the case at Real Madrid, who were a swift counter-attacking unit during Pellegrini's reign. This system, which was alien to most sides in Spain, was the major reason why his teams were always so successful; their competitors, being unused to this particular mode of play, had no answer to it. However, in the Premier League, all sides are used to this system and could present a tactical dilemma to the Chilean.
Also, the predominant style of play that Mancini has propagated in his three and a half years at the club has been possession based. This again presents as a problem for the Chilean, as most players will take time to adjust to the new system, if Pellegrini decides to go with his tried and tested methods.
Even though the players at the Etihad have enough class to quickly adapt to the new system, it still remains a question mark as to how they will perform.
The next challenge facing Pellegrini is to find the right players to adapt to his system if the current players fail to do so. Among the current crop of players, the defence should find no problems, as most of them are veterans of the Premier League who have played and succeeded in varying systems.
However, among the midfielders, arguably only Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry, James Milner and Javi Garcia are good fits into the system. The current wingers at City have too less of a defensive contribution to shine in the conservative system preferred by the Chilean, including new signing Jesus Navas.
And the aerial threat provided by the midfielders is also miniscule, with only Yaya Toure, Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia being especially strong in the air. And among these, Garcia and Rodwell still have a lot to prove after disappointing first seasons with the club.
However, by far the biggest possible problem that Pellegrini could possibly face is the impatience of the owners. Despite the fans support of Mancini, and despite his decent track record in England, the Abu Dhabi investment group still went ahead and fired the Italian on the back of one bad season.
Mancini had his flaws, but it is not everyday that the a team fires a coach who had delivered the Premier League title just a season prior. Pellegrini is indeed a surety to succeed if given time, with the players certain to get used to his system at some point in the course of this season, or at maximum, the next. Time is indeed the key factor here, as it is yet unknown as to how much time the super-rich owners will be willing to give him.
However, all this said, it could end up that Pellegrini turns out to be a massive success at the Manchester club. Both the manager and the players at the Eastlands club have enough class to overcome these glitches and produce a champion team. But still, as of now, these glitches remain. And Pellegrini would do well to overcome them.
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