We live in a society where people always want more. No matter how good the thing you have now, it’s not good enough, there’s better out there and you must not be satisfied until you have it.
Football is much the same, as Carlo Ancelotti found out during his time at Chelsea. He won the league and cup double only to be sacked the following season when his side finished second in the league. Mourinho followed in similar circumstances. His Chelsea team won the league in 2015 before Mourinho found himself sacked the following season after a string of misdemeanours, he probably deserved it though. The drive shown by Roman Abramovich has undoubtedly yielded great success but at great personal cost to those who can’t quite hit the targets expected of them.
Arsenal and Manchester United have, until now, bucked the trend, two long-serving managers in Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson who are both highly decorated but, especially in the case of Ferguson, didn’t taste initial success. Ferguson made a name for himself through the success of the team over a prolonged period. A luxury no longer afforded of the modern day football manager. Ferguson’s two successors have failed to live up to the expectation that he had built up during his reign at the club. David Moyes endured a hard season with Manchester United before he was sacked with the club struggling outside of the top four in seventh place. As I write, Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United are fifth in the league, fifteen points adrift of high flying Leicester City with one game in hand. It’s difficult to see them clinching the title from here yet a Champions League qualification place should be within United’s grasp. Following Ferguson’s trophy-laden reign it is hard to see a fourth place finish as satisfying for United’s die hard fans in Van Gaal’s second season. After all, signings like Martial, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger and Depay were hailed as the start of a new era which have, so far, failed to deliver.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Manuel Pellegrini. What does a man have to do to stay in a job in football these days? His record speaks for itself, a win percentage of 64% is not to be sniffed at. Manchester City are still in with a chance in four major competitions this season – the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Champions League. Manchester City won the premier league title in 2013/14 and Sergio Aguero has found stunning form in front of goal under Pellegrini’s leadership. But it’s not enough. Realising that Manuel Pellegrini is coming to the end of his illustrious career, City cast their net across to Germany to revisit a negotiation they had opened some time before.
It was announced earlier this week that Pellegrini would be replaced by Pep Guardiola. In Manchester City’s defence, they have acted with dignity. Pellegrini knew about the plan to bring Guardiola into the club long before the press. Before the vultures started circling, City made the announcement. For once, the football world afforded one of the best managers a little compassion.
Pep Guardiola was hailed as the ‘major signing’ on deadline day by Sky Sports News and who are we to argue? Guardiola has amassed an impressive number of trophies whilst managing FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich. In that time, he has also developed links with some of the world’s most sought after players like Lionel Messi, Neymar, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski. One of his greatest assets is his youthfulness, he is only 45 meaning that Manchester City may have many years of the Spaniard’s leadership should all go to plan. Even as a Manchester United fan, it is sad to see Manuel Pellegrini go after such a short and ultimately successful tenure but the acquisition of Guardiola hails a new and exciting era.
With Leicester City now tipped to win the league title after their 3-1 win over Manchester City yesterday afternoon, it will be up to Guardiola to show the world that Manchester City belong on the top of the Barclay’s Premier League.