Manuel Pellegrini: ‘If I won Champions League and Premier League TWICE, Pep Guardiola would still have come to Manchester City’
The club, whose strategy is driven by two former Barcelona executives in Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain, had failed in a previous attempt to lure the Catalan to the Etihad Stadium in 2012.
Pellegrini was well aware of this when he took charge in 2013 and has no issues about stepping aside this summer, at what would have been the end of his initial three-year contract.
The Chilean, who won the Premier League title in his first season with City, told Spanish newspaper Marca: “I don’t believe they are changing me because they were expecting more.
“The club has always wanted to work with Guardiola, and that is logical, because they have a relationship from their time at Barcelona.
“Pep was on the market and it was clear they were going to take him when he became free. If I had won two Champions Leagues and two Premier Leagues, Guardiola would still have come.”
City’s announcement preceded a slump in the team’s Premier League form and Pellegrini accepts it has been a distraction, but he does not think it was the wrong decision.
He said: “From the moment that Pep declared he would come to England, the board knew that I would not be able to sit around like a fool. All the world knew he would come here. Afterwards, we can analyse if it was good or bad.”
Pellegrini says he will leave City on good terms. He also has the chance to bow out on a glorious high having guided his side to the Champions League semi-finals, in which they face his former club Real Madrid.
The 62-year-old said: “It has been a complicated situation in a year in which we are fighting for titles, but you have to accept it.
“I have a very good relationship with the people who run the club, with Txiki, with Ferran. It is nothing like (the bad) relationship I had with the board at Real Madrid.
“I understand they wanted a change after three years. I knew that I had a three-year contract and I have completed them.
“Another thing is that the uncertainty affects the mentality of the players when they are in the middle of a competition, when people are talking about who is coming and who is going.
“Of course, there is still a lot for us to fight for, because we are in an unheard of position for this club.”