How Manuel Ended Up In A Hoodie...

How did the usualy immaculate Manuel Pellegrini end up wearing a hoodie? Alex and Andi have their ideas - starting with a gin y tonica at noon on Saturday...

Last Updated: 10/03/14 at 12:19 Post Comment

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We should probably point out that this is a fictionalised account of Manuel Pellegrini's Saturday. He probably doesn't even like manchego. Who does?

It's Saturday and Manuel Pellegrini is relieved to have Saturday off. It's a rare chance for peace before the Sunday game against Wigan Athletic, and then the big one against Barcelona in mid-week. 2-0 in the Champions League and the away leg to come. Travel, hassle and all the pressure that comes with it, especially as he used to manage hated rivals Real Madrid.

That's why Pellegrini is taking it easy. He gets up late, about nine in the morning, and bums around at home for a bit. He watches James Martin on Saturday Kitchen, enjoys the prattle between the chefs and the celebrity. He's quite glad that heaven is chosen at the end, instead of hell. He jots down a note to check the website later for the recipes and wine recommendations. Given that his English is so much better than when he came to Manchester, he no longer has the subtitles on.

He goes to the fridge, and pours himself a gin and tonic. Or, 'gin y tonica' as patronising Diary writers might imagine he said, given he is Chilean, and those are Spanish words. Slicing a lemon, he leaves one slice in the glass above four ice cubes, and then squeezes in a little juice from the remaining part of the lemon, before adding a small measure of gin, and topping with tonic.

Given the surprising heat for March, he finds that he finishes the first drink quickly, and makes another one to enjoy out on the terrace. While it's not quite as beautiful as Chile or Madrid, he can appreciate the weather in the north-west, and the enormous sums of money don't hurt when it comes to getting by. He toys idly with the Sudoku. Now it's 1pm, and he's on an empty stomach.

Returning to his kitchen, he opens up the fridge and assembles a plate of cold meats and manchego - the worst cheese in the world, but one that lazy Diary writers know to be the only Spanish cheese in existence, and well, Chile and Spain are basically the same, aren't they? - and he also finds some olives and anchovies marinated in olive oil. He puts a baguette in the oven to warm, and returns to the gin. There's slightly more than he would normally consider a small one that would look ridiculous left in a full-size bottle, so he supposes he might as well stick it all in. There's not much tonic left, so he puts in what he can, and dilutes it with the remaining ice cube. He doesn't bother with lemon.

Ten minutes later, and he's in his living room with his plate on his knees, happily munching through his food, the assorted bits of stuff he took out of the fridge on a chopping board on the floor. Really into the swing of things now, he supposes he might as well have a sherry to go with the meats, and then when he's onto the cheese and bread, has a glass of red wine too.

It's two o'clock now, and he potters about the house. He realises that there's nobody about to talk to as everyone else has made their usual Saturday plans - watching football! - so he pops down the pub. Given that he's probably a touch over the limit he thinks he might as well enjoy the walk, and even though it takes him an hour and a half to get there on account of a couple of wrong turnings, he finds the pub in the end.

He realises that, as he's well-known, he has to go by the customs of his new home and sticks to pints. He enjoys a couple of lagers as the day gets a little cooler, and as he's recognised, the manager sends over a bottle of Chilean red in a ham-fisted attempt at making him feel at home. Now, Pellegrini's in a bind. He wasn't planning on having any more after the pints, because he knew he needed a dinner sooner rather than later. If he rejects the bottle, though, he'll look like a bit of an ungrateful tool, and that's not in his nature. He notes a couple of people talking about City a couple of tables over, and realises that the best thing to do is to be gracious and drink at least half the bottle.

He orders some peanuts and a packet of crisps to help stave off the hunger pangs, but an hour later, he knows he's in trouble. He thinks to himself 'can I actually hear all that liquid sloshing about if I rock from side to side?' and as he tests his theory, he gets some funny looks from the locals. Manuel Pellegrini is shifting his weight rapidly on a bar stool, then quickly attempting to press his ear against his stomach. Catching himself, he tries to pay his tab, and when it's refused by the manager he leaves a hefty tip anyway, and hails a taxi outside.

He stumbles through the door. Grabs a can of beer from the fridge and sticks two pepperoni pizzas in the oven. At one in the morning, he wakes up in an armchair to turn off the smoke alarm and throws the charred pizzas into the bin, burning his wrist on the wire rack in the oven, before going to sleep on the sofa.

He's woken at 12pm by a series of texts pinging from his assistants and players, all saying, 'Where are you?' Apart from one from Martin Demichelis, which says, 'Yes, I believe I have been mis-sold PPI insurance. Please send my compensation to XX-XX-XX XXXXXXXX.'

Pellegrini rushes about, looking for his keys, his aspirin, and iPad with his tactical plans, and realises he needs to put on some clothes - at some point in the night he'd totally undressed. He grabs some smart shoes and trousers from the closet, but he realises he forgot to pick up his dry cleaning yesterday. He realises he'll have to wear that silly MCFC hoodie he was given as a freebie on his first day, and hurriedly puts it on.

"Urgh, I don't normally drink. Oh well, it's only Wigan."

Andi Thomas and Alexander Netherton

You can follow Andi on Twitter here, Alexander on Twitter here, and buy last season's Diary here.

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