Manuel Pellegrini has launched a spirited defence of his record at Manchester city, complete with data to support his claims that his three-year reign at the Etihad Stadium should be regarded as a success.
Pellegrini will take charge of his final game at Swansea on Sunday, looking for a win that will guarantee City a place in next year’s Champions League. He is being replaced by Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola after presiding over a steady decline over the course of his reign.
City have managed 65 points from 37 games, compared to 79 last season and 86 the previous year, when Pellegrini led the club to the Premier League title.
However, the Chilean attended his weekly press conference armed with a set of data that paints his time at City in a positive light.
“I always think we can do better, but the important thing is to compare yourself with all the other teams,” he said. “If we make a summary of the three seasons I’ve been in charge we were the team that had the most points. We were the team that had the best performances [in my time] as manager and we were the team that scored the most goals.
“The only thing we couldn’t be best at was defence – that was Chelsea; they conceded just four fewer goals than our team. The goal difference [over the three seasons] is huge between us and all the other teams.
“During those three seasons, the fans always told me they enjoyed our games. Of course, it’s impossible to play all the games well, but if you look at the amount of goals we have scored I think it’s 50 or 60 more than any other team. I think that’s an entertaining team, and a team that wins titles and has progressed in the Champions League.
“It’s about a style and, for me, it’s important to be the highest-scoring team in those three seasons, always to be in the Champions League and to win three titles. I’m happy, but I think you must always think you can do better.”
Pellegrini also noted that he had also won more trophies than any other manager during his three seasons in England.
City have won the Capital One Cup this season, as well as reaching the Champions League semi-finals, and Pellegrini said he viewed the current campaign as a success.
“I think it’s been a successful season for a lot of reasons,” he said. “Firstly, because we won a title and, second, because for the first time in the history of the club we reached the semi-finals of the Champions League. The third thing is that in the whole season we were always in the Champions League spots and the fourth thing is that it was a very difficult season, especially in January and February when we were involved in four competitions.”
With the big-spending club yet to secure a place in next season’s Champions League, the departing manager said he believed that City deserve a place based on their consistency over the past nine months.
“We have always been in the Champions League spots, for 37 games, so I think we deserve to be there, and we played very well against Arsenal [the 2-2 draw last weekend] so I think we deserve to qualify,” he said.