Will the deposed champions bounce back under the new regime?
So, farewell Bobby M... Indeed. Roberto Mancini will forever be a hero in some parts of Manchester for putting sky-blue ribbons on the main trophies for the first time in decades, but the City dressing room wasn’t a fun place under the rule of the firebrand Italian, and he was given the boot when United regained the title following the Blues’ dismal failure in Europe last term.
So who’s the new guy in charge? Manuel Pellegrini. The 59-year-old Chilean built up a reputation as one of the most astute bosses in Spanish football during spells with Villarreal, Real Madrid and, most recently, Malaga.
How will he handle the pressure of the Manchester derbies? Given he was once boss of River Plate, we don’t think he’ll have that much to worry about. The River/Boca Juniors ‘Superclasico’ in Argentina is arguably the most intense rivalry in world football and Pellegrini survived a number of those pitch battles. “It’s just crazy,” he admits. “It’s not just on the pitch – it’s the whole week, month, year. But we have an important rivalry against United and we will try and beat them.” As you’ll remember, that’s something the Blues have managed in their previous two league trips to Old Trafford, but their 2-1 victory in April followed our dramatic 3-2 win at the Etihad in December.
How will City's tactics change under the new gaffer? If you listen to Manuel, it sounds like the new City could be much more attack-minded than under Mancini. “For me, it’s very important that my team has a winning mentality,” says Pellegrini. “Try to always play in the opposition’s half. Not just score a goal and come back to play on the counter-attack. We will try to score another goal. Always play the same way and do not change your style of play depending on the team you have in front of you – and to keep possession of the ball. That’s very important.”
To score goals you need a few strikers, though… especially now that both Carlos Tevez (restless soul) and Mario