Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he would not think twice about naming a weakened team once again despite the club’s 4-2 defeat against Southampton during the weekend.
It was clear that the Chilean was prioritising the midweek Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid over the game against the South Coast opponent. Even though finishing in the Premier League top four is extremely important, it seems that Pellegrini is now switching his focus to the European competition. On a personal level, this is more important for the former Villarreal manager considering that he is leaving the club in the summer.
He would ideally see next season as someone else’s – Pep Guardiola to be precise – problem. After having just made it to the semifinals of the Champions League first time in the club’s history, winning the title will be a major feather in the cap of Pellegrini. Pellegrini has already completed a clean sweep of the domestic honours with City. Prior to the game against Southampton, Pellegrini criticised the Premier League for not accepting the club’s request to move the game 24 hours earlier. This would have provided City with an equal recovery time as Real Madrid ahead of the game at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Madrid played their league match on Saturday rather than on Sunday like City."I think we could've played on Saturday and named a stronger team.But we had to prioritise Wednesday. We continue in the Premier League in the next two games to be in the top four so that was a risk, but one we also had to take. The best way to prepare is to win but we couldn't do it. Playing with too many players that are not playing often is difficult. I expected more - especially defending,” said the City manager. Madrid won their game against Real Sociedad 1-0.