Pellegrini's begins long farewell
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Manuel Pellegrini has cause to feel resentment at being handed his notice by Manchester City, even though the mild-mannered Chilean isn't showing it.
When he is replaced as coach by Pep Guardiola at the end of the season, Pellegrini might just have become the most successful manager in the club's 136-year history.
City's travelling support showed its love for Pellegrini during the 1-0 win over Sunderland on Tuesday, serenading him with a full repertoire of songs throughout the first half. Sergio Aguero might have scored the only goal of the game during that time, but it was Pellegrini's name being sung loud and proud.
"The fans think the world of him, the players think the world of him," City goalkeeper Joe Hart said.
The game at Stadium of Light was the start of a long farewell for Pellegrini after Monday's announcement that Guardiola will be joining on a three-year deal starting in July.
The 62-year-old Pellegrini knew the end was coming the club had kept him informed of their behind-the-scenes push for Guardiola's signature but he has stayed dignified throughout the process, in the face of constant questions about his future at news conferences.
Pellegrini hasn't had the best of luck over the last few years. He was fired by Real Madrid in 2010 despite leading the Spanish club to its largest-ever points tally in the league, and replaced by Jose Mourinho at the time arguably the biggest draw in world soccer.
He has been big-footed again at City, midway through his third season in charge as the team chases trophies on four fronts.