Forget Mourinho, Manchester City are ‘piling the pressure’ on themselves

Manuel Pellegrini

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been accused of piling the pressure on new Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

After spending almost £90 million before the end of July, the Chilean boss who came in last month to replace Roberto Mancini at the Etihad will likely face much the same pressure endured by the departed Italian.

Despite winning the Premier League (for the first time in 44 years) with City and the FA Cup the previous season, Mancini was sacked in May after a disappointing run in the Premier League, an early exit from the Champions League and a dismal display against Wigan in the FA Cup final this year.

In his four-year spell in charge at the Etihad, Mancini spent a total of £284.75 million (after Mark Hughes spent £252.7 million in one and half years) and brought in some of the finest talent in the world on undoubtedly the highest wages in the sport.

Players like Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko, James Milner, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero, and Maicon to name but a few, came in on wages up to £300,000 a week making City the highest paying football club in the world.

However, City have yet to achieve the heights of the continent’s elite – the Champions League stronghold, the ‘usual suspects’ like Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Inter Milan and more recently Chelsea.

They exited the competition at the first group stage last term having not won a single game in the ‘group of death’ against then-champions of Spain, Holland, and Germany.

Jose Mourinho, having won the Champions League twice now with two different clubs, likely knows a thing or two about the pressure to succeed at the highest level.

His Premier League rival at City, Pellegrini has never won a European title or a domestic title outside of South and Central America – and will feel he has it all to prove.

“Of course people should expect more of them,” Mourinho stated, referring to City.

“Jovetic, for more than two years, is one of the best in Italian football. Again, he is a kid that has five years of playing for Fiorentina in Serie A at the highest level. Fernandinho is more than that, because he has more experience, a national team player [with Brazil]. They are players without surprises. They are more than ready.”

“If you see their age, their maturity, they are in the perfect moment of their career to go to England, no need for adaptation, no need of work to learn the project. They are players at the top of their careers, experienced but still young, so they’ve bought very, very well,” he added.

“That doesn’t surprise me, because they have the money to buy but also the knowledge. So it’s no surprise for me they bought well.”

But the caveat was, of course:

“But many teams will be under pressure until the last moment.”

The problem is for City is that it matters not what pressure Mourinho puts on the club, the players and, more importantly, his esteemed colleague Pellegrini – whilst the tabloid papers are running the angle that Mourinho is putting the pressure on Pellegrini, the reality it, the pressure will be there from within from the outset.

Any board or owner that spends £90 million on bringing in new players (and there’s still more than a month to go of the transfer window) will want to see that outlay translated into the results – they’ll want to see their money translate into performances on the pitch and trophies in the cabinet and, like any billionaire businessman, they’ll want to see it immediately.

Roberto Mancini was given four years to realize his vision of Manchester City and, as an average, he spent £71.2 million a season during his four-year spell – Manuel Pellegrini has already surpassed that and the pressure that goes with that spending will be applied to him accordingly – with or without Jose Mourinho.

image: © Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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