Saturday 19 January 2019

Pellegrini gets final job done as City go fourth spot

Swansea 1 Manchester City 1

Manuel Pellegrini, manager of Manchester City and Yaya Toure shake hands. Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
Manuel Pellegrini, manager of Manchester City and Yaya Toure shake hands. Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
Manchester City's defender Nicolas Otamendi (L) vies with Swansea City's striker Andre Ayew. Photo: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini told his players not to be distracted by events at Old Trafford before their game at Swansea kicked-off.

The Premier League clash between Manchester United - the only side who could deprive City of fourth spot and the final Champions League place - and Bournemouth was called off following a security alert at Old Trafford.

Pellegrini said his squad were aware of the situation before their 1-1 draw at Swansea, which all but sealed City's place in Europe's premier competition next season when Pep Guardiola will be in charge.

Only a massive swing in goal difference - United would need to beat Bournemouth by 19 goals in the rearranged fixture - would stop City from qualifying for the Champions League, and Pellegrini certainly felt the job was done when he addressed the issue at his final post-match press conference.

"We knew before the game, but not good information, we just knew that the game was suspended," said Pellegrini about the events at Old Trafford.

"It's important to investigate what happened. But it was more important to be focused on our game, because we were not depending on other teams.

"Before today we were in a Champions League spot for 37 weeks, so it was very important not to lose it in the last week."

Pellegrini said he originally thought that the kick-off at Swansea would be delayed, allowing the two games with a bearing on Champions League qualification to be played at the same time.

The idea of an extended half-time break was also examined.

But the abandonment of the United game meant that the clash at the Liberty Stadium was played to a conclusion as normal.

"At the beginning they said that maybe the game was going to be delayed for some minutes," said Pellegrini.

"But just a few minutes after they told us that the game was being played again."

Pellegrini celebrated the point by providing one City supporter in the away end with his jacket as a souvenir.

"It's a very special day," Pellegrini said after his final game.

"It's not easy to finish a cycle in this club, a club where I was very happy, where I always felt the support of the fans during the three seasons.

"So I'm very proud to manage this squad.

"Of course, it was a difficult day. But there is also relief because it was very important to finish with the squad in the next Champions League."

Swansea ended up in 12th place after a strong finish to the season which saw manager Francesco Guidolin rewarded with a two-year deal in midweek.


After joining in on the traditional end-of-season lap of honour, Guidolin said: "It was a fantastic moment for me on the pitch with players, families and children and in front of our fans.

"It is a fantastic family and another surprise for me, because we are not used to this in Italy.

"Now we need to prepare a good team for next season.

"I have spoken with my chairman (Huw Jenkins) and we start with a good team.

"We need something in the summer, but not too many changes."

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