Manuel Pellegrini: Stick or Twist?

Little has gone Manchester City’s way recently. They lost to Burnley; barring a miracle they will be out of the Champions League; they are an almost insurmountable number of points behind Chelsea in the Premier League; they have no chance of silverware; they have lost three out of their last ten matches in all competitions; and even their second place finish in the Premier League looks under threat.

To what extent should the manager, Manuel Pellegrini, be accountable for this drop in form? To answer the question in the title, it seems certain that City will stick with their manager for the time being. Despite their poor run of form, it is inconceivable that he will be sacked so close to the end of the season. Come June however, anything could happen. Unless results pick up, it is looking increasingly likely that we will see a repeat of the Roberto Mancini situation i.e. the manager of Manchester City being sacked the year after lifting the Premier League.

Perhaps one of the reasons why City’s Abu Dhabi owners might consider sticking with Pellegrini is the lack of viable alternatives. Below are the five favourites to be the next Manchester City manager.

Diego Simeone

He has a contract until 2017 at Atlético Madrid and after such a successful season last year, it may seem surprising that he is the bookies favourite. However, Atlético have endured a tough run of form themselves, and Simeone won’t be able to achieve much more in Spain. The inevitable lure of the Premier League could also be a factor. However, he is revered by the Atleti fans, meaning it will be hard to convince the club to let go of him, and perhaps his managerial style and personality will not be to the taste of the Manchester City owners.

Carlo Ancelotti

The other Madrid-based manager surprisingly happens to be the second favourite. It has been well publicised that Ancelotti is under pressure at Real Madrid and anything could happen with the demanding Florentino Pérez and currently discontented Real Madrid fans. If they lose to Barcelona this weekend, it is unlikely that they will win La Liga this season, which would make retaining the Champions League their only chance of a trophy. If they do indeed have a trophyless season, he could well be leaving the Santiago Bernabéu. He is a vastly experienced and successful manager however, and has already won trophies in England, namely the Premier League and FA Cup, not to mention the Community Shield.

Rafael Benítez

Rafa has previously been very successful in the Premier League, particularly at Liverpool, but also at Chelsea where he was under constant pressure. He has done reasonably well at Napoli, but is seemingly struggling to breach the large gap separating the Napoletani and Juventus. He may be willing to come back to the Premier League in order to prove a point to Chelsea fans, and Manchester City could do worse than hire the Spaniard.

Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira would certainly be a left field choice, as he has had no managerial experience at the top level. This lack of experience is countered by his knowledge of Manchester City (he is currently reserve team and Elite Development squad manager) and his popularity amongst the club’s top brass. He also has bags of playing experience in England. It would be an unlikely decision, but stranger things have happened.

Pep Guardiola

Guardiola has made it clear that one day he wants to manage in England. His future at Bayern Munich will depend on when they win the Champions League, as it is unlikely he would leave the Bavarian club before they win Europe’s most prestigious football competition.

This is only a list of a few of the candidates, with other notable possibilities including Jurgen Klopp, Laurent Blanc and Rudi Garcia. The fact that there is no clear favourite perhaps highlights why City may end up sticking with Pellegrini, but he still has a lot to prove before the season is over.

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