Thursday 24 January 2019

Pellegrini: 'City will deserve fourth'

Departing boss 'proud' of Etihad achievements

Manuel Pellegrini and Raheem Sterling applaud the Man City fans
Manuel Pellegrini and Raheem Sterling applaud the Man City fans
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal embrace after United’s defeat at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

Manuel Pellegrini has defended his record at Manchester City as he prepares to leave the club.

The Chilean will take charge of City for the last time on Sunday as they travel to Swansea for their final Premier League game of the season.

Pellegrini has won three trophies in his three years in charge but form in his last season has been inconsistent and a Champions League place has not yet been secured.

But when asked at his final pre-match press conference yesterday how he felt about his time at the club, the 62-year-old spoke proudly about his achievements.

Pellegrini said: "If we make a summary of the three seasons I was in charge here, we were the team that had more points, we were the team that had better performances as a manager, we were the team that in the three seasons we always scored the most goals.

"The only thing that we couldn't be the best at is our defence - that was Chelsea, they conceded just four fewer goals than our team - but the goal difference is huge between us and all the other teams.

"During the three seasons, the fans always tell me that they enjoy our games. Of course, it's impossible to play all the games well, but I think the amount of goals we scored in the three seasons, I think it's 50 or 60 more than any other team, so I think that's an entertaining team, and a team that wins titles and one that has progressed in the Champions League.

"It's about a style, and for me it's important to be the highest-scoring team for three seasons, to be always in the Champions League and to win three titles."

Since Pellegrini took charge in 2013, City have accrued more points than their rivals, with Arsenal's 222 the closest to their 230. They have scored 255 goals, 40 better than next best Liverpool, and conceded 115, a figure bettered only by Chelsea (111), Arsenal (113) and Manchester United (114).

"I'm happy, but I think you must always think you can do better," said Pellegrini.

Following Manchester United's loss at West Ham in midweek, City are now in charge of their own destiny as they seek to secure a top-four place. Because of their superior goal difference, realistically they only need a point. Achieving that would be Pellegrini's parting gift.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, Pellegrini said: "For a team that always wanted to play good football, to always try to score, not just trying to get a result and when you score a goal, the game is finished.

"We have always been in the Champions League spots for 37 games, so I think we deserve to be there, and we played very well against Arsenal, so I think we deserve to qualify."

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