Published on November 25th, 2013 | by Ian Cheeseman


Can’t quite make my mind up about Manuel Pellegrini

Am I the only person who can’t quite make my mind up about Manuel Pellegrini? Is it still too early to have a meaningful view? Does he need more time to settle into the pace and passion of the Premier League? Are City moving forward under the Chilean?

I sat at Friday’s press conference, ahead of the Spurs game, watching a man who clearly doesn’t want to be talking to the media, who are of course a conduit to the fans. He’s doesn’t talk to the club’s own website after every game, so maybe he’s too “shy” or maybe he just doesn’t see communication, with those outside the playing staff, as an important part of his role.

I’ve interviewed and chatted to every City manager since Joe Mercer at one time or another, either as a journalist or fan or host of a radio programme or at some event I’ve been overseeing.

Just like everyone else I have my favourites and there have been those I’ve been less impressed with, and that view is based on a number of factors. The performances on the pitch are crucial of course, because I’ve been a City fan far longer than I’ve been a journalist, but there’s also something else, call it charisma, the x-factor an instinct based on body language and things I hear but never repeat, but all those things combined usually bring me to some sort of conclusion.

On the occasions when I’ve been at Pellegrini press conferences or been given the chance to interview him (always as part of a group, never individually) I’ve always sensed an impatient man, who has never really shown temper, passion, humour, or any of the other human traits that help you to judge a man. There’s the odd twinkle in the eye, and it seems that behind the scenes, the players have a lot of affection for him.

Maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe it shouldn’t matter, but I’ve found it hard, so far, to warm to him. The irony is that the man he succeeded, Roberto Mancini was a man I liked, even though it seems that behind the scenes, and with many of the senior players (allegedly) Mancini was not popular.

In terms of tactics and results, it’s been so mixed, once again it’s hard to judge. The wins against Newcastle, United, Norwich and CSKA were awesome, the defeats against Sunderland, Villa, Cardiff, Chelsea and at home to Bayern were all different – individual mistakes, refereeing decisions, injuries, team selection, bad luck and an assumption of victory, not backed up by attitude, have played their part. How much of that is down to the manager?

Does it matter that Pellegrini is not very animated on the touchline, that his visible mood never seems to change whether things are going well or the team is under performing?

Why have I offered more questions than answers in this piece about the manager? The reason is that I can’t make my mind up about Pellegrini, have you?


– Ian Cheeseman

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One Response to Can’t quite make my mind up about Manuel Pellegrini

  1. sammy61 says:

    I was a fan of Mancini until I saw negative behaviour which almost certainly rolled over to the players. In Pellegrini I see parallels with Joe Mercer, Bobby Robson, Ron Greenwood who we classified as gentlemen managers. Treat players as human and they in turn will perform at their best. I respect the desire to reserve judgement on the Chilean but what makes me an immediate fan is the amount of study work Pellegrini undertakes to get a firm understanding of all premier league players. I believe this is a manager committed to be a huge success at the club. And on top of this he engages with the whole squad, the holistic approach which was a prerequisite for the new man something Mancini failed to do. If I had to fault him maybe he is too defensive on our lost games. But I believe he wants to keep the players on his side until a full assessment has been undertaken. I give him full marks for his stance on Joe Hart,s competence. with respect to the press conferences I personally cringe at the questions being put to him. Not only are there too many repeat questions but the press are always attempting to find that speculative argument. I would reduce press time unless questions become more constructive and let the man get on with what is best for the club. How many press calls with Mancini about the position of Balotelli. Again in my opinion Balotelli should have been transferred twelve months before he went and yes we would have missed him and maybe Aguero would not have scored that final season goal. You can never be absolutely certain in football. However City will probably end up runners up in the league and reach the semi finals in the European Cup. I hope they do better than this but like Pellegrini I too am a realist until his final squad is sorted.

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