Manuel Pellegrini will forever be remembered as the manager who took Manchester City to their first ever Champions League semifinal appearance, however, when he needed to be brave in his choices the Chilean ended up bottling at Bernabeu.
Manchester City suffered a 1-0 defeat in their Champions League semifinal second leg tie but more than the result, City’s toothless performance was the more damning part. Much of it was down to Pellegrini’s cautious decision making which led to City’s dismal performance against Real Madrid.
On the wake of Bernabeu debacle for City, we take a look at Manuel Pellegrini’s three fatal mistakes which led to Manchester City’s Champions League exit.
Iheanacho’s omission from starting XI
Manchester City fans are really excited with Kelechi Iheanacho’s explosive start to his career, however, his limited involvement this season has been nothing short of baffling.
Against Real Madrid, City needed players to support Sergio Aguero in attack, however, Pellegrini opted not to start with Iheanacho and saw his team register just one shot on target.
Pellegrini could have started with the youngster and unleashed him on Real Madrid’s defense who must have known very little about how to stop him.
Iheanacho has impressed everyone with his rapid movement and elegant finishing, however, it was not enough to earn him a place in City’s starring XI against Real Madrid.
Took too long in substituting Yaya Toure
Seeing the former Barcelona man stroll around the pitch at Bernabeu, it seemed as if he was due another birthday cake but was not getting it.
It was Yaya Toure’s worse night in a City shirt and it should have been brought to an end at half time. Instead, Pellegrini stuck by him until the hour mark before taking him off.
Yaya was a liability for City last night and ended up being one of the biggest reasons for City’s Champions League exit.
Starting Navas ahead of Sterling
With all due respect to Pellegrini’s evaluation of Jesus Navas as a football player, he is not good enough to be getting the number of chances he gets.
Navas is blessed with exceptional pace but he hardly uses it to hurt his opposing full-backs. Even if he has the beating of his marker, teams are certain that he will never put a decent cross in the box.
Pellegrini could have opted to start De Bruyne on the right side and use Raheem Sterling from the left and play Yaya Toure in the number 10 role.
Navas was one of City’s worse players on the pitch and rightly it ended Pellegrini’s European adventure with Manchester City on a very sour note.
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