Pellegrini: Barca have influenced City
Manuel Pellegrini says that Manchester City are currently following a ‘similar path' to that set by Barcelona over the last decade.
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Former Barca directors Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain are now chief executive and sporting director at City respectively, having been hired by the English club’s Abu Dhabi owners to bring in structures and practices based on those that were so successful at the Camp Nou during Pep Guardiola's time as coach.
The former Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga coach, who was himself considered for the Barca job twice in the past, told El Pais that the opportunity to be a part of this ‘project’ was what had attracted him to Eastlands last summer.
"My understanding with Begiristain, with Ferran Soriano, and with the club's owners is absolute," Pellegrini said. "That was why I turned down other clubs to come here. It was not about money.
"Txiki talked to me about common causes, that he did not want to imitate Barca, that we were looking for our own identity. [Barca] showed a set path, but there are differences depending on the players, idiosyncrasies... it is not the same path, but there are similarities in the style of play, in this the idea is similar, that is true."
The Chilean coach said that the implementation of a long-lasting "idea" at City was more important to him than achieving short-term success.
"The most important is the end, based on an idea," Pellegrini said. "I would be left more frustrated renouncing personal values to achieve an end than not winning a title remaining coherent with an idea. Not everything is worth it, for me, and I do not say that from a loser’s perspective, I have always won. And this is useful for City: here you are judged on putting in philosophy which endures, which people both inside and outside like, which makes us competitive."
The former Universidad de Chile centre-half said his playing style had been more like the all-action style of Carles Puyol than the more cultured approach of Gerard Pique.
"I was more like Puyol for the performance I got out despite my limitations, for the leadership in the play although I was not technically the best," Pellegrini said. "It was more for force of will than talent, but I achieved what I set out to do. I did not have his career but I was happy, I achieved my objectives.
"I used to stay to work a while longer [at training] than the others, that is true, wanting to improve. And I improved a bit on my weak points. It was not easy as at the same time I was studying civil engineering, but it went well."