Manchester City were expected to struggle against Dynamo Kyiv in this evening’s Champions League fixture in Ukraine after suffering three defeats on the bounce.
Since it was confirmed that Pep Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini this summer, City have lost to Leicester City, Tottenham and Chelsea.
Prior to tonight’s match in Kiev, Rio Ferdinand doubted whether Pellegrini could even motivate the City players following the Guardiola announcement. Both the former Manchester United defender and his fellow BT Sport pundit Michael Owen said that the Guardiola news may have been a big reason behind the Citizens’ recent dip in form.
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“I think the Guardiola issue adds to that as well,” Ferdinand commented. “They’ve been inconsistent anyway, adding to that is this Pep Guardiola issue of a new manager coming in, the manager they have now going away.
“How does [Manuel Pellegrini] motivate them, that’s another thing.”
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Michael Owen added: “And all three defeats have been since Guardiola was announced.”
Manchester City were impressive tonight
However, Manchester City made both pundits look a little silly by beating their Champions League opponents away from home.
Goals from Sergio Aguero and David Silva put Pellegrini’s men 2-0 up at the half-time interval, although they conceded just before the hour-mark when Vitaliy Buyalskyy hit the target.
Yaya Toure capped off a fine team performance with a late third goal.
Pellegrini can still motivate his players
Pellegrini, it seems, is still capable of rallying his troops - even though both he and they know he’ll be gone in the summer.
The Chilean coach will be eager to end his spell with Manchester City on a high, not least to impress potential future employers.
Pellegrini will almost certainly take one more big job in Europe before heading back to Chile and recent reports have linked him to both Chelsea and Valencia.
However, Chelsea appear to be closing in on a deal for Antonio Conte while Valencia could hand a two-year deal to Gary Neville with the former Manchester United captain in the process of turning things around following a sticky start to life at Mestalla.
City can win first trophy of the season on Sunday
City’s players, meanwhile, will be determined to finish the season on a high, too - for professional pride and the fact that Guardiola will be watching.
They have a chance to win their first trophy of this season this weekend when they take on Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final and still have an opportunity to win both the Premier League and the Champions League.
However, their FA Cup hopes were ended by Chelsea last weekend after Pellegrini deployed a weakened team, with tonight’s match his priority.
How many trophies will Manchester City finish with this season? Let us know by leaving a comment below.