Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Pellegrini on City radar before

Manuel Pellegrini is keen for Manchester City to develop their own players

New Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has revealed he first had chance to take charge at the club six years ago.

City's hierarchy this summer identified Pellegrini as the man they believe is best equipped to help deliver on a stated ambition of winning five trophies in the next five seasons. Yet he might already have been in place had former owner Thaksin Shinawatra lured him from Villarreal in 2007 before turning to Sven-Goran Eriksson.

And Pellegrini also interested Liverpool three years ago. The Chilean said: "I had twice chances to arrive here before. One was to Manchester City but with the other owners, not these owners. Liverpool, I was very near, after Real Madrid, to arrive at Liverpool. But for different things, it was not the moment. Now it is the right moment with the right club."

Pellegrini, 59, left Malaga to succeed Roberto Mancini, who was sacked in May just a year after guiding the club to the Premier League title. The Italian had also won the FA Cup the previous year and still managed to finish runner-up in both competitions last season.

Pellegrini is not daunted by such lofty expectations, nor by the additional challenges of improving the team's style or helping develop a "holistic" approach to all footballing matters.

He said: "I am not concerned about that. I am here, it is not only to win trophies - the Premier League, the FA Cup or the Champions League. I am here to work with young players and the professional team. Winning trophies is important but it is not just about that."

City have spent close to £45million this summer on two new players in Fernandinho and Jesus Navas and the spending is set to continue with several other players linked. Yet Pellegrini is well aware the club need to curtail their spending and sustain their strength through their own youth system in the future.

He said: "As a coach, of course we always want immediate success. We are trying to have a strong squad in all positions. If that will bring us trophies, perfect - we have more chances to win that way. But in the same way we are working with young players and we will continue to.

"It is impossible every year to buy three, four, five players. We need a mix with young players. We need to work exactly the same with the under-21s and the first team. A lot of things I think will be improved. From what Roberto and all the other coaches of Manchester City have done over the years, we will continue."

Pellegrini has shown his coaching credentials but his reputed man-management skills were also attractive. It was felt there was discord in the dressing room under Mancini. Pellegrini said: "I don't want to talk about what happened in the past. You always have problems sometimes with some players - I had it in the past - but I think we can have very good relations."

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