MANUEL PELLEGRINI has been told to repair the havoc wreaked by Roberto Mancini and create a Manchester City family.
The Chilean will be named City boss at the start of June and has been left in little doubt what his new employers want. Trophies and squad harmony are to be delivered – or else.
Chief executive Ferran Soriano has laid bare his frustrations at seeing Mancini’s reign crumble under a wave of mediocre results and mind-numbing inconsistency.
And having seen the dressing room turn against the Italian at the bitter end, the former Barcelona executive knew the axe had to fall. Even winning the FA Cup would not have saved Mancini.
City have turned to Pellegrini, 59, in the hope he will be the calming father figure they believe is needed to turn them into domestic and European kings, and deliver the “holistic approach” chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak referred to following the dismissal of Mancini earlier this month.
There can be no more in-fighting, no more snapping and snarling behind the scenes. Soriano wants the former Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga boss to bring some love and attacking style back to the Etihad next season.
It is impossible for us to win, and win the Champions League in the end, if we don’t have a group that behaves like a family.
“Age is not relevant at this point, but with the kind of squad we have, we want a senior manager,” said Soriano, who first noted Pellegrini when he guided unfashionable Villarreal to the Champions League semi-finals in 2006.
“We want a manager who knows about football, but we want somebody who knows about man-management and this is something we are convinced about – myself, the board, the owner.
“It is impossible for us to win, and win the Champions League in the end, if we don’t have a group that behaves like a family.
“A family where there are no such criticisms, where everybody respects everybody. To do this you need to be senior, to have experience of managing groups.
“Our group is difficult, only in the sense that it is diverse in terms of nationalities and languages and so on. But they are also very mature people. I have seen the players behave and how they behaved when the manager went.
“They are very senior people. If they work with a senior manager, they can do great things. We want a manager that is stable.
“I’m saying also that there are cycles and the managers can change with cycles – three, four, five years in one cycle. Maybe a manager can do one or two [cycles] but people get tired. People need another way, another excitement. That is normal.
“I don’t expect City or any club to have a manager for 26 years because that was extraordinary. What we want is not the image of unity. We want the unity.”
Finishing 11 points behind Manchester United coupled with a disastrous Champions League campaign was simply not good enough for City’s hierarchy. “It’s always hard. Nobody wants to change a manager but we all want to play good football and we all want to win,” said Soriano.
“Would he have stayed if we won the FA Cup? No. This is a long-term decision taken with a lot of careful analysis. It didn’t depend on one game.
“There has been one manager for 26 years at one club but look at the other clubs. For the owners of City to have had only two managers in five years is very good. It shows the willingness to have a very stable managerial team.”
Soriano claims the squad Mancini assembled is good enough to regain the title next term, and he dreams of creating a mouth-watering crop of home-grown stars to bring the glory days back – just as his former club Barcelona have done in recent years – with City opening their new, multi-million-pound academy next year.
“We are looking to play good football and to win and I said that in the right order. If you play good football you will win,” he said.
“We have a fantastic squad. It would be very hard for us to change the players for any others in the UK and that includes the champions of the league. My position is that we don’t need to change our players for other players. We have a very good squad. We want to play very good football, we want to play better.
“What we also want is a football concept so that the basic way we play is shared by the whole organisation. From young teams all the way to the first team. We are asking the new manager to have close collaboration with the youth football and to work together to achieve this.”
He added: “I have seen it to the extreme in Barcelona where we won the Champions League with nine out of 11 players home-grown. And you have seen it at United. It’s consistent.
“You can’t win one year after the next if you don’t have a core of players that have been playing together for a long time.
“The squad we have is capable of winning the Premier League and is not a squad that should be kicked out at the first group stage of the Champions League.We have better players than that.” Manuel, it is over to you now.