Pellegrini confident of City stay

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Published: Monday 16th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has again defended his position following increased speculation over his future.

Pellegrini is under growing scrutiny as City’s season threatens to unravel and end in under-achievement.

City now seem unlikely to retain their Barclays Premier League title having fallen six points behind Chelsea, who have a game in hand, after a run of just three wins in nine games.

Their hopes of salvaging something from the campaign now seem to come down to the unlikely prospect of overturning a 2-1 deficit at Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday.

City axed Roberto Mancini after a frustrating 2012-13 season, just a year after winning the title, and – based on that – Pellegrini’s prospects could be bleak.

But the Chilean, who last week expressed his desire to stay beyond the end of his current contract in 2016, has reiterated his belief that is not the situation.

Pellegrini, in a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian and Daily Mail newspapers, said: “Roberto left the club for other reasons, not because he didn’t win anything one year. It’s not ‘if you don’t win, you’re out’.

“Of course, winning trophies here is extremely important. I understand you can’t just say, ‘It doesn’t matter, we’ll come in fourth or fifth because we’ve got a long-term project’.

“But in the last four years this team has won two leagues, come second once, and won the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup. I have never felt the situation is that if I don’t win I am out whatever happens.”

City have not built on last year’s second title success in three seasons and Pellegrini feels his team is still lacking a “crack” player to complement the firepower he already has.

Last summer’s spending had to be restricted to £49million net as punishment for the club’s failure to comply with European governing body UEFA’s Financial Fair Play restrictions.

Pellegrini said: “This year we improved the squad while working within those limits. What we did not do was bring in a crack. I think this team now needs a crack, another special player just to give us that sense that we are now at another level.”

Pellegrini thinks the FFP regulations have unfairly punished City. Owner Sheikh Mansour may have spent extraordinary sums recruiting players but that has been matched by heavy investment on infrastructure to grow the club and City are debt-free.

Pellegrini said: “I was at Malaga, a club in debt, so I understand that you have to avoid clubs having unsustainable budgets, accumulating unpaid debts.

“But preventing you from investing, speculating, is absurd. It’s anti-competitive. The intentions are good, but FFP needs serious revision.”

City will undoubtedly look to the transfer market again in the summer but retaining the services of James Milner is also high among Pellegrini’s priorities.

England midfielder Milner is out of contract at the end of the season. City have offered a new deal and terms are thought to be satisfactory to the player, but Milner wants to be sure of regular game time.

Pellegrini said of the 29-year-old: “It would be very difficult to find a more complete player than Milner.

“There are players who are better technically. There are quicker players. There are players who head the ball better. But show me a player who does all the things that Milner does well and there isn’t one. And whatever position I put him in he plays well.

“It’s very difficult to find another Milner – an intelligent player, with big balls and a massive heart.”

Losing Milner would deprive City, who have been criticised for their lack of an English core, of another home-based player.

But Pellegrini does not think there is good value to be found in the English player market.

He said: “It is important to have English players but can you sign them? You are talking about trying to sign players from clubs that won’t sell them.

“Can you get (Raheem) Sterling? Maybe if you go to Liverpool with £100million you can.”

Published: Monday 16th March 2015 by The News Editor

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