Wednesday 21 March 2018

Pellegrini gets new deal but can't escape Guardiola

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini

Mark Ogden

Manuel Pellegrini has admitted he cannot escape the shadow of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, despite extending his contract until the end of the 2016-'17 season.

The Chilean, who takes City to West Brom for their Premier League opener on Monday, has been rewarded with a 12-month contract extension after bringing stability to the club since succeeding Roberto Mancini two years ago.

With City repeatedly being linked with Bayern Munich coach Guardiola, whose contract at the Allianz Arena expires at the end of this season, the move to improve Pellegrini's contract has enabled the club to end immediate uncertainty over the manager's future. But Pellegrini concedes that, after more than 20 years in management, his new contract will not protect him from the Guardiola speculation or provide a guarantee of longevity at the Etihad.

"Pep Guardiola is a manager that every team will want to manage because he is a great manager," Pellegrini said. "Maybe he is more linked with this team because of the relationship with (director of football) Txiki Begiristain and (chief executive) Ferran Soriano.

"But I trust in them and I am sure that, if they want to bring in him (Guardiola), they will tell me. I have no problem with my relations inside the club, I know exactly how the owners think. In football, you never know how long are the contracts. You can sign for 10 years and, four months after, you are sacked. But I think that when the two parties are happy with how you are working, of course, you can extend your contract, not just for one year or two years.

"The owners are happy with the way I am working and I am also happy at this club, but it is impossible to know about the future."

Despite his pragmatic assessment of his contract extension, Pellegrini (above) admits that the club's decision to reward him with a new deal will help avoid unwanted distractions.

"For me, it is very important for the club to trust in our work," Pellegrini said.

"But after that, you know in this profession, you need the results so it is very important for me to have a good season and good results. As a professional, it's very difficult to talk about long term, but if you ask me, I think I can continue working here for the long term.

"I think it is important to be focused this season, not to think this is just a transitional season."

Soriano, who worked closely with Guardiola at Barcelona, insisted that Pellegrini's new deal was a reward for the club's progress since his arrival in the summer of 2013.

"We are delighted to reach this agreement with Manuel," Soriano said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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