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A Case for Manuel Pellegrini


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Looking beyond Mourinho

While Chelsea fans savour the prospect of club legend Jose Mourinho returning to the club next season, it won’t be the end of the world if he doesn’t eventually come to Stamford Bridge. After all, almost all of the Mourinho rumours have been reported by far-from-credible news outlets like the Daily Mail and the Daily Star. Moreover, some reports have gone on to wildly suggest that Mourinho will bring Cristiano Ronaldo with him to Stamford Bridge. If that’s not lazy journalism, I don’t know what is. Most of these reports seem more like guesswork on the part of the media rather than cold hard facts. Mourinho’s daughter goes to school in London and the next day the papers print a news item which has as much substance as Ray Wilkins’ hairline. Jose has a contract with Real and as much as it looks like he’ll be leaving Madrid this summer, there’s no guarantee that he’ll end up at Chelsea. Paris or Manchester could be a tempting offer for ‘The Special One’ or he could take a break from the game altogether. Ofcourse, if Jose accepted Chelsea offer then the board should hire him on the spot but it would be wise for us fans to cool down the Jose talk until credible sources report it and brace for the worst-case scenario.

Apart from Mourinho, Chelsea don’t exactly have ripe offerings to choose their next manager from. Pep Guardiola is walking into a manager’s dream at Bayern, Jurgen Klopp – a man of his word – has a contract for 3 more years at Dortmund and Guus Hiddink is set to retire from the game. That leaves only one reasonable option – No, Not David Moyes – but Malaga’s Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Track Record

Pellegrini has managed 13 teams in his 25-year managerial career starting with Universidad Chile – the club he played for throughout his playing days. It was not until he took charge of Universidad Catolica in 1994 that his managerial potential was noticed. Catolica finished Runners-Up in 94’ and 95’ seasons. He won his first National Championship with Ecuadorian club Liga de Quito in 1999 before leading San Lorenzo to their first International title – winning the Copa Sudamericana in 2002 (equivalent to the Europa League). After few fairly successful seasons in Argentina, including a brief stint at River Plate, he joined Villarreal in July 2004. In his first season at Villarreal, the Yellow Submarines qualified for the UEFA Champions League finishing 3rd in the La Liga and also reached the Quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup. Things would get better next season as Villarreal reached the Champions League Semi-Finals and lost narrowly to Arsenal with Juan Roman Riquelme missing a crucial penalty in the 2nd leg. Villarreal would finish 5th , 2nd and 5th in the next 3 seasons while also reaching the Champions League Quarter-Finals (losing to Arsenal again)

Impressed by his work at Villarreal, Real Madrid hired Pellegrini at the start of the 2009-10 season but inspite of scoring 96 points in the league, Pellegrini was gone at the end of the season. The shock Copa del Rey loss to Alcorcon and another disappointing Champions League performance (Round of 16 exit) led to his dismissal but his record of 36 wins and 5 draws in 48 games with a 75% win percentage was actually good.

By the end of 2010, he was working at Malaga who qualified for the Champions League the following season with a club-record 58 points. Despite the loss of key players Santi Cazorla and Salomon Rondon due to severe financial problems, Pellegrini stayed at Malaga and led them to a creditable Quarter-final run in the Champions League where they were controversially beaten by Borussia Dortmund in injury time.

Tactical Preference

At Villarreal, he played a 4-2-2-2 formation with 2 stopping midfielders in midfield and wing-backs pushing up to attack much like the way Chelsea play now. In the final third of the field, Villarreal deployed two strikers and in central midfield two interiores – attacking midfielders who are versatile. The two interiores are the creative hub of the team and Mata and Hazard strike me as perfect candidates for that spot.

At Malaga, Pellegrini continued with the 4-2-2-2 with few tweaks but this season he reinvented Joaquin as a ‘Second-Striker’ to bring about a classic 4-2-3-1 look to his formation. More recently, due to Eliseu’s injury, Pellegrini used the diamond formation with Toulalan at the base and Isco at the tip with box-to-box wingers on either side. His tactical nuance is undoubted and he has installed firm footballing philosophies at both Villarreal and Malaga. His teams have a certain fluid ‘pass and move’ flavor to them but he has set up rigid formations in matches where he needs more defensive security.

Conclusion

His time at Real Madrid may be a little off-putting but it’s worth noting that he installed a footballing philosophy at both Villarreal and Malaga and has a good track record in the Champions League overall. Of course, Chelsea is a big step up from Malaga and Villarreal but he has had experience at the top level unlike most other managerial candidates.His professionalism is admired by his peers but on the contrary to his public image, he has made bold decisions; most notably dropping Juan Roman Riquelme at Villarreal and Raul at Real Madrid. He doesn’t have Premier League experience, but he is experienced enough now to adapt . He is not one of the ‘fancied’ candidates for the job but Manuel Pellegrini would currently be the best choice after Jose. He is the sort of manager who can build a team out of our talented crop of players

stats and figures: whoscored.com and transfermarkt.com

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Great read as always. Like I've been saying since the Pellegrini rumors started, he's very good choice for us. His teams are always tactically very good and well organized. They always seem to punch above their weight. His time at Real was affected by the political issues inside the club as everyone knows. I think his appointment seems very logical and very realistic. Would be very interested to see how that works out.

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Great read as always. Like I've been saying since the Pellegrini rumors started, he's very good choice for us. His teams are always tactically very good and well organized. They always seem to punch above their weight. His time at Real was affected by the political issues inside the club as everyone knows. I think his appointment seems very logical and very realistic. Would be very interested to see how that works out.

he's not any random new guy as well. unlike Avb, he has been around a long time. he's a proper manager. also, with our old guard close to accepting that their place in the team is gone, Pellegrini should have it easier

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Forgot the most important thing, Roman wont have patience...

Or the board. Could be either that pull the trigger. WE DON'T KNOW THESE THINGS FOR CERTAIN.

it's irrelevant. No one other than Jose, or maybe Pep, can hold the board by the balls. the rest of the managers HAVE to start well here

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it's irrelevant. No one other than Jose, or maybe Pep, can hold the board by the balls. the rest of the managers HAVE to start well here

It is totally relevant!

You can make a case for a lot of managers, but that will mean nothing because Roman will go full retard whenever we lose a set of 4 consecutive games or whatever. Our manager situation is only a complicated one because of Roman and the Board.

RDM started really well and so did Scolari, that didn't count for anything. Roman will only have full confidence in Mourinho or Guardiola, one is already out of question, the other is a must.

It is no secret Pellegrini is a great coach, but his problems lie with him not being Roman's first option. Do you really want to start another season with a second choice coach? To scream for Benitez help again? To be the first club to sack a manager again?

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It is totally relevant!

You can make a case for a lot of managers, but that will mean nothing because Roman will go full retard whenever we lose a set of 4 consecutive games or whatever. Our manager situation is only a complicated one because of Roman and the Board.

RDM started really well and so did Scolari, that doesnt count for anything. Roman will only have full confidence in Mourinho or Guardiola, one is already out of question, the other is a must.

It is no secret Pellegrini is a great coach, but his problems lie in him not being Roman's first option. Do you really want to start another season with a second choice coach? To scream for Benitez again?

yeah but it becomes irrelevant when we can't get Mourinho or Guardiola. among the rest, no-one will have any control here and Pellegrini is a good coach as you said. Who do you think should be the manager if Jose doesn't come?

edit: btw, i am saying Pellegrini ONLY if Jose doesn't come. Not sure I made that clear

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yeah but it becomes irrelevant when we can't get Mourinho or Guardiola. among the rest, no-one will have any control here and Pellegrini is a good coach as you said. Who do you think should be the manager if Jose doesn't come?

I dont care, because he will get sacked anyway.

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I dont care, because he will get sacked anyway.

So you're saying - Mourinho or bust then.

edit: Ancelotti did well. He counts as a manager who lasted two whole years and did well here. Pellegrini could also do the same

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So you're saying - Mourinho or bust then.

edit: Ancelotti did well. He counts as a manager who lasted two whole years and did well here. Pellegrini could also do the same

I dont think you understand our level of desperation. We have no choice other than José!

Pellegrini has the Real's failure in his resume, it is not all flowers either. The first time he had huge egos to manage he wasnt able to thrive.

If he does a Carlo, that wont help. Because the other manager will come and try to implement a whole different system, will ask for different players and that translates to more money being spent and more time needed to adjust the squad.

I am fed up of the constant change of managers, we need some stability. Not meaning 10-15 years, but at least 3-4. We would have been way more dominant without the changes, we are only successful because we spent more than everyone else. We would have made Ferguson a joke if we kept José or at least didnt change the coach so many times. I bet we would have much more trophies...

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I dont think you understand our level of desperation. We have no choice other than José!

Pellegrini has the Real's failure in his resume, it is not all flowers either. The first time he had huge egos to manage he wasnt able to thrive.

If he does a Carlo, that wont help. Because the other manager will come and try to implement a whole different system, will ask for different players and that translates to more money being spent and more time needed to adjust the squad.

I am fed up of the constant change of managers, we need some stability. Not meaning 10-15 years, but at least 3-4. We would have been way more dominant without the changes, we are only successful because we spent more than everyone else. We would have made Ferguson a joke if we kept José or at least didnt change the coach so many times. I bet we would have much more trophies...

Completely agree but I'm talking about a scenario where Jose did not accept Chelsea offer. Then I wouldn't mind Pellegrini

All these years we had player-stability. the same core group of players who were all borderline World-Class but now we are rebuilding and the whole process has to start again. If we get Jose, we suddenly go from the 3rd best team in England to 'one of the top 3' in England. Jose should be first-choice no doubt and you would have a hard time finding someone who will argue with that but there are potentially lot of pitfalls to Jose coming and we need to brace for possibility of a backup

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I've been in favour of him for quite a long time.

He's 59 and the only thing of note he's won is the Intertoto Cup, and he doesn't know the league either.

Scolari mk.2.

It's hard to win trophies when you manage Villareal and Malaga, but he did get Villareal to semi-finals of CL and was 1 minute away from doing the same with Malaga. Not to mention both sides did well in the league under him.

Real was different though, he failed to solve the round of 16 curse but the 96 points in the league is no easy task, even in la liga.

If Mourinho is a no-go then imo he is and should be 1st choice.

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Impressed by his work at Villarreal, Real Madrid hired Pellegrini at the start of the 2009-10 season but inspite of scoring 96 points in the league, Pellegrini was gone at the end of the season. The shock Copa del Rey loss to Alcorcon and another disappointing Champions League performance (Round of 16 exit) led to his dismissal but his record of 36 wins and 5 draws in 48 games with a 75% win percentage was actually good.

He spent £200 million on players, including arguably the second best player in the world, and was knocked out of the Champions League by Lyon.

This is not a fair analysis of a manager, but a love letter. When you skirt over serious issues like his complete lack of experience on the Premier League with 'he's experienced enough to adapt' and don't actually acknowledge that there is a real issue with not understanding the rigours of our league, you undermine the rest of your points.

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If mourinho doesn't come, I would love joachim low to change our style to germany's quick beautiful football, but that's just me. Pellegrini is a coach of high degree so he isn't bad either, if his english is good then its okay. Good write up.

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