Midas touch: Match of the Day’s Mark Lawrenson backs Manuel Pellegrini to lead Manchester City into future

By Paddy von Behr

Manuel Pellegrini could bring a Midas touch to Manchester City, following back-to-back success stories in Spanish football, according to pundit Mark Lawrenson.

The 59-year-old confirmed on Wednesday he will leave his post at Malaga at the end of the season and is expected to succeed Roberto Mancini at City.

And Lawrenson is convinced the Chilean’s CV demonstrates the sort of success he could bring to the Etihad Stadium.

“You never, ever know but I think his team at Villareal, for what it is, was a real success story,” he told MM. “He did a great job there.

“Now, if you watch his Malaga team, they play real pressing, 4-3-3, all interchangeable, all very comfortable on the ball.”

Mancini was shown the exit earlier this month, following a disappointing campaign, which ended with an FA Cup final defeat to relegated Wigan Athletic.

City’s owners cited a desire to develop a ‘holistic approach’, but Lawrenson believes the Italian’s downfall was due to a breakdown in personal relationships.

As well as public criticism of players, such as goalkeeper Joe Hart, Mario Balotelli was a thorn in the manager’s side until his January exit to AC Milan.

“I just don’t think the man management was particularly good,” he said. “Nice bloke, Mancini, but I just think he spent so much time looking after Balotelli.

“Balotelli was a hopeless case in Premier League football – a good player but he was just a complete nut job.

“There was so much time spent on him, to the detriment of the rest of them.”

As for the future of the club, Lawrenson believes City’s chief executive, Ferran Soriano, and sporting director, Txiki Begiristain, are calling the shots.

Given their time spent in Spanish football with Barcelona, they may well see Pellegrini as the man to lead City into its ‘holistic’ future.

“The biggest influence is the two Spanish boys, who are basically running the club now,” Lawrenson added.

“They know him, they speak the same language – that makes a difference – and they will know his mentality.

“I think he’s a smart guy, but you would struggle to struggle at Manchester City, wouldn’t you?”

Lawrenson was speaking at the announcement of this year’s National Football Museum Hall of Fame inductees.

Image courtesy of SNTV, via YouTube, with thanks.

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