Pellegrini turns City into a purring piece of machinery
If all else fails at Galatasaray, Roberto Mancini has a future as a politician. Never shy of taking credit for the success of others, this week the Italian insisted there is only one reason Manchester City are flying high... it's him!
"I think (Manuel) Pellegrini is doing a good job, but what is happening now at Manchester City we did three years ago," he said. "The players scoring the goals are players that I bought – Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and David Silva."
Never mind that City's leading scorer this season – Alvaro Negredo – was in fact recruited by Mancini's successor, it is a nice theory. But City are not where they are today because of Mancini. In fact, it is more accurate to suggest they are there despite him.
The moment Mancini was unceremoniously removed through the stadium's back door, it was as if a boil had been lanced. A calm settled about the place. Drama was confined to the pitch.
Where Mancini was all fire and brimstone, the new manager has made a virtue out of his very dullness. A man who could send a press conference to sleep while announcing the coming apocalypse, Pelligrini gives nothing away.
And, after Mancini's urgent need to flounce at every opportunity, the players appear to be responding to Pelligrini's refusal to make a drama out of a crisis. The players have reacted to Pelligrini's sober leadership in a way they did not to Mancini's endless angry chivvying.
Because this is the point about where City are now. Pelligrini has taken Mancini's signings – plus a few of his own – and created from them a purring piece of machinery.
And as a result the volume of noise surrounding the club has diminished to barely a whisper.
This week, City reached their first League Cup final in 38 years with aplomb. I went to Wembley the last time they were there, back in March 1976. The match on February 24 is not one to miss. (© Daily Telegraph, London)