Will Pellegrini be judged on Europe or domestic titles this term?

Manuel Pellegrini

New Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini came in to replace Roberto Mancini who was sacked after four years in charge at the Etihad.

Mancini had arrived to replace Mark Hughes after an impressive spell in charge at Inter Milan with whom he had won three Serie A titles but the Italian coach had never won a European title in his managerial career.

With City, he won the Premier League in 2011/12 and the FA Cup the previous season but it wasn’t enough to keep his job after a disappointing term last season as City exited the Champions League last in their ‘group of death’, not having recorded a single win and then went on to concede the domestic title to archrivals Manchester United.

Pellegrini arrives off the back of five-year spell with Spanish side Malaga who impressed in the Champions League last term, reaching the quarter finals of the competition and exiting at the hands of eventual finalists Borussia Dortmund who had qualified top of City’s group.

Pellegrini’s men also finished top of their group, despite strong competition from AC Milan who finished second. They beat FC Porto in the round of 16 and went out on a goal difference to Dortmund away after holding them to a goalless draw at home.

Pellegrini’s continental record is, however, relatively limited – his only honour is the Intertoto Cup win with Villarreal back in 2004 but the Chilean will be hoping to improve on that with Manchester City.

It’s still unclear as to what exactly was the final straw for Manchester City’s board and owners with Mancini – they kept him on at the Etihad for months after City had been dumped out of the Champions League which would imply they might have kept him on had his team done better in terms of domestic titles.

They sacked him, ultimately, after City’s poor performance against Wigan in the FA Cup final which they lost to the side that were eventually relegated from the English top tier last term. City had already lost the Premier League title to United by that point which would, again, imply he might have been given another term if he’d have come away with something, anything, in terms of silverware.

How will Pellegrini be judged then? Well, a good run in the Champions League certainly won’t do him any harm – City have a better chance this time around of making it out if their group, despite the current title-holders Bayern Munich being the obviously favourites to finish top.

They haven’t started all that convincingly in the Premier League – two wins, a draw and a defeat would suggest the team and the coach still need time to settle and bed in but they’ve got a good shot of reclaiming the title now that Sir Alex Ferguson has retired at Old Trafford.

I believe, overall, Pellegrini will not be sacked if Manchester City don’t progress in the Champions League, although that certainly wouldn’t bode well, but I believe he’ll be judged on whether or not he can achieve domestic silverware with the Sky Blues this term.

If City win the league title or the FA Cup I think I would expect he’ll keep his job but failure to achieve that would certainly be compounded by a poor outing in Europe. Overall, I think Manuel Pellegrini will be in much the same position as his predecessor Mancini – his success will be judged on domestic competitions, first and foremost.

image: © Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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