Since Pep Guardiola was prematurely announced as Man City’s next manager, current manager Manuel Pellegrini has led the club to a Capital One Cup title and their first ever Champions League semifinal appearance. But City’s Premier League title challenge has faltered since then, so Pellegrini has decided to make selective use of his Guardiola excuse.
From Sky Sports:
“For different reasons, we lost important games in February against Leicester and Tottenham,” Pellegrini said. “For me, they’re the two games that don’t allow us now to be involved in the title.
“In the start of February came the news about the change of the manager, telling the players I will not continue here next year. A lot of things that involve the minds of all the players. […]
“It’s not easy for the players when you read in newspapers all the things that will happen next season, all the players who will go out, all the players that will come in,” Pellegrini said.
“It’s not easy for the players to focus their mind. But this squad has a lot of character. We never give up.”
So, according to Pellegrini, his team was damaged by the Guardiola announcement in the Premier League (and, presumably, the FA Cup, where they lost 5–1 to Chelsea on February 21), but not in the Capital One Cup or the Champions League. That…doesn’t make sense. Coverage of the Guardiola situation can’t affect the team in some competitions and not others.
Though Pellegrini definitely has valid reason to take issue with how this transition is being handled by both Pep and Man City, his successes in the face of it all undermines his ability to use it as an excuse for his team’s mistakes.
Still, it was worth a try. But at this point the best way for him to stick it to everyone is to win the Champions League.