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Pellegrini perfect match for City: Zabaleta

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File photo dated 07/04/2009 of Manuel Pellegrini. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 14, 2013. MANUEL PELLEGRINI - The overwhelming and odds-on favourite to succeed Mancini. The Chilean had been rumoured to be a potential City target several times before the latest speculation began at the weekend. The 59-year-old has denied there is a deal in place but he is leaving Malaga at the end of the season and appears to fit the profile the club want. See PA story SOCCER Man City Contenders. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire

File photo dated 07/04/2009 of Manuel Pellegrini. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 14, 2013. MANUEL PELLEGRINI - The overwhelming and odds-on favourite to succeed Mancini. The Chilean had been rumoured to be a potential City target several times before the latest speculation began at the weekend. The 59-year-old has denied there is a deal in place but he is leaving Malaga at the end of the season and appears to fit the profile the club want. See PA story SOCCER Man City Contenders. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire

File photo dated 07/04/2009 of Manuel Pellegrini. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday May 14, 2013. MANUEL PELLEGRINI - The overwhelming and odds-on favourite to succeed Mancini. The Chilean had been rumoured to be a potential City target several times before the latest speculation began at the weekend. The 59-year-old has denied there is a deal in place but he is leaving Malaga at the end of the season and appears to fit the profile the club want. See PA story SOCCER Man City Contenders. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire

PABLO ZABALETA believes Manuel Pellegrini could be a great manager for Manchester City.

The City defender has long known of Pellegrini's reputation having been a junior at Argentinian club San Lorenzo when the Chilean was first-team boss.

Pellegrini is widely expected to be named as replacement for the sacked Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium after it was confirmed he is to leave Malaga at the end of the Spanish season.

Zabaleta (28) speaking in New York on City's post-season tour, said: "I have never worked under Pellegrini before, when he was at San Lorenzo I was in the second team.

"I don't know him as a person but he did well at Real Madrid, Villarreal and Malaga.

"His way to play football is great. Somebody told me he is a great manager so we will wait to see what happens. Hopefully if he comes to City he can just carry on with his football."

Pellegrini potentially moved a step closer to City when Malaga announced he would leave La Rosaleda after their final two Primera Division games.

The 59-year-old did have two years remaining on his contract but he and the club both cited "sporting reasons" for his departure.

Pellegrini added: "Malaga had a past without Manuel Pellegrini, and will also have a future without Manuel Pellegrini."

 

Success

Pellegrini oversaw unprecedented success at Villarreal by guiding them to a Champions League semi-final in 2006 and second place in La Liga in 2008.

He then had a single season in charge at Real Madrid before taking over at Malaga, which he steered to the last eight of the Champions League this year.

Pellegrini's European record would be an attraction to City, who conspicuously failed to achieve on that stage under Mancini.

Zabaleta believes he would also bring a positive style of play to the club.

He said: "He likes to play attractive football. This is something important for a top team."

Zabaleta also knows there will be an onus on the players to respond to the new man.

He said: "Whoever is the manager, players need to work hard."


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