Manuel Pellegrini, who has not won a major trophy in Europe, has been forced to defend his managerial record.
The new Manchester City manager, who was presented to the media for the first time on Wednesday, promised a "different style" of football to his predecessor Roberto Mancini and stated he is unconcerned that Ferran Soriano, the chief executive, has revealed City's ambition is to win five trophies in five seasons.
In nine seasons in Europe, managing Villarreal, Real Madrid and his last club, Málaga, the Chilean could win only the Intertoto Cup – in 2004 at Villareal. Yet he did take Villareal to the Champions League semi-final in 2006, second and fifth place in La Liga, finished second with Real to Barcelona in 2010 with a record 96 points, and led Málaga into last season's European Cup quarter-finals. The 59-year-old, who signed a three-year deal, also claimed the league title in Ecuador with LDU Quito and in Argentina, when in charge of River Plate and San Lorenzo.
Asked why City fans should get behind him given his record, and with Mancini having won the FA Cup and Premier League, Pellegrini said: "I won a lot of trophies in South America. I think it is very difficult for Villarreal to win a title in Spain. It is very difficult for Villarreal to arrive in the quarter, semi-final of the Champions League, it's very difficult to arrive with Villarreal in the second place of the league, 10 points from Barcelona. That's my work with Villarreal. To win the titles it's impossible.
"After, in Real Madrid with 96 points, we played a whole year against a great Barcelona with [Pep] Guardiola [as coach] but we couldn't win the title in just one year. I am sure if I could continue at Real Madrid we could win a lot of trophies. And Málaga is exactly the same as Villarreal – you can't win the Champions League with Málaga or the [title]. But also it is very difficult to arrive with Málaga in the Champions League and to continue to the quarter-final. So for me with the strong squad we have in Manchester I am sure we can win trophies."
Of Soriano's ambition that City should win five trophies in the next five seasons, Pellegrini said: "Just five? I am not concerned about that. I will do my job here completely with Ferran, with Txiki [Begiristain, director of football] with Patrick Vieira also working with young players. We have to have a different style in the club and that is why I'm here.
"We will try to work and do our best and then we will see how many trophies. One of the important [factors why] I am here is the way my other teams always played. I think fans of Manchester City will see a different way to how they played in the other years. I am sure we are going to play an attractive game. We will always try to play in the opposition's [half], try to be an attacking team, do what all the other teams I worked with before did."
Pellegrini started his tenure in charge of Manchester United's great rivals by reminding the champions that his sides have previously bested them. "I have played against Manchester United twice in the Champions League with Villarreal, in both years we passed to the last 16 and Manchester United didn't so I have experience playing against United," he said. "I know that the most important thing for all the fans is to beat United and if I am here it is because I am sure we will do it This year, same as other years, Manchester City will be top of Manchester United – we will try, at least.
"For me it is exactly the same. We don't have a priority for one competition. We know we have to improve what Man City have done in the CL. But also the Premier League is important."
Pellegrini revealed he nearly took charge of City during the ownership of Thaksin Shinawatra, which ended in the summer of 2009. "I had chances to arrive before. One was to Manchester City but with the other owners, not these owners – one year before these owners bought the club. Liverpool, I was very near, after Real Madrid. It was not the right moment but now it is the right moment."
With Fernandinho and Jesús Navas joining City for a combined £47m Pellegrini confirmed there would be more signings. "We will see. I am not sure if they can arrive when we are in South Africa and Hong Kong [during the club's two and a half week tour]. We are not in a hurry. We have people and choices."
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