Pellegrini deserved more than City gave him

You may have missed it – and you wouldn’t have been alone – but Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said his goodbyes on Sunday following his side’s final home match of the season, a draw with Arsenal.

It was perhaps fitting that the Chilean spoke to a near-empty stadium, since most of the City fans lost faith in him some time ago. In fact, the possibility of missing out on a top four place is now threatening to end Pellegrini’s tenure on the most sour of notes.

Pellegrini joined City ahead of the 2013/14 season and would bring instant success in the form of the Premier League title, with a League Cup trophy thrown in for good measure. After going trophyless last season, City won the League Cup once more this term, but such a trophy haul was never going to be enough for City fans high on the promise of riches greater than a second-rate domestic cup.

Not 20 years ago City became only the second ever European trophy winners to be relegated to their country’s third league tier and fans were dining out not on Manchester derbies against United or Champions League ties, but rather local rivalries with the might of Blackpool and Wrexham. But that’s an era forgotten now, and consistent success is the only currency City fans deal in.

Pellegrini’s failure to challenge for the Premier League title over the last two seasons has left him branded a failure (nevermind a first foray into the Champions League semi-finals…), but the treatment he has received from the club’s owners and fans are not fitting for a man who has acted with dignity throughout.

Yes, he isn’t the most exciting of managers, and yes, he appears to have made little effort to win over the City fans and no he did not provide the holistic approach and charismatic leadership many craved, but a man that leaves the club with the highest win percentage in the club’s history warranted more than a half-hearted send off in front of a sparsely-populated stand.

Some 54,425 had packed into the Etihad ahead of the clash with the Gunners, but less than 5,000 remained as Pellegrini watched a montage of highlights of his time at the club and utter the depressing parting words: “Winning the three points would have been a very good way to say goodbye. I’ve had three unforgettable years here that I don’t want to analyse in this moment.”

Good luck, Pep Guardiola.