Five Reasons To Prefer Pellegrini To Moyes

Two big Manchester clubs are changing managers this summer - which new boss piques your interest? Sarah Winterburn picks Manuel Pellegrini for five very good reasons...

Last Updated: 14/05/13 at 12:24 Post Comment

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It takes a significant stretch of the imagination when you're a Huddersfield Town fan, but if I supported a club with Premier League and Champions League trophy ambitions and I was given the choice between David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini as my club's new manager this summer, I would choose Mark Robins. And then Jose Mourinho. But if they weren't available, I would opt for the silver-haired Chilean without hesitation. Not convinced? Let me give you five good reasons...


1) European experience
When outgoing Manchester United chief executive David Gill decreed that Sir Alex Ferguson's successor "has to have the requisite football experience, both in terms of domestic and European experience", it appeared to rule out manager-elect David Moyes, who has presided over four underwhelming UEFA Cup/Europa League campaigns in which Everton have never progressed beyond the last 16. Unless we're confused about the definition of the word 'requisite', Moyes falls way, way short on this requirement.

Pellegrini, on the other hand, is the only manager to have taken two Champions League debutants as far as the quarter-final stage, with Villarreal coming within a penalty kick of reaching the final in 2006. Two years ago, United failed to get out of the Champions League group stage; this year Manchester City failed for the second successive season; Pellegrini seems far better placed than Moyes to prevent a repeat in 2013/14.


2) Actually winning things
To be absolutely fair to Moyes, he did win the Football League Second Division title with Preston in 1999/2000. But by that juncture, Pellegrini already had three trophies from managerial spells in his native Chile and Ecuador. He later added two Argentine league titles with two different clubs before making the move to Europe. The trophies have dried up in the last ten years (barring an Intertoto Cup with Villarreal), as the Daily Mail's Martin Samuel eagerly highlighted when he described Pellegrini as 'a coach who has won nothing in Europe, not even in the season when he spent £200million on four players at Real Madrid'. What Samuel did not mention is that Pellegrini's Real amassed a record-breaking 96 points that season but were pipped at the post by a Barcelona side for which the word 'phenomenon' is no exaggeration.

Doesn't that record sound a tad better than Moyes' achievements of no trophies (and no away wins at Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea) in 11 years at a club established in the top half of the Premier League table?


3) Tactical flexibility
While Pellegrini has variously played a 4-2-2-2, a 4-4-2, a 4-3-1-2, a 4-2-3-1 and, thankfully for the vision of Txiki Begiristain, a 4-3-3, Moyes has pretty much always fielded a conservative 4-4-1-1 which has - at times - looked rather more like a 4-6-0. It has worked rather well for the Scot at a club where draws against big clubs are to be celebrated, but he will have to be rather more malleable when Manchester United are facing domestic and continental opposition with the expectation that they will win rather more than they lose (or draw).

We assume that Moyes has ideas that he has not felt at liberty to implement at Everton (a brief experiment with a three-man defence this season suggested as much), where his willing but often limited players have been most comfortable with two banks of four, but we don't have to assume with Pellegrini - we saw in this season's Champions League the difference between his gung-ho tactics when chasing the game against Porto and his rather more pragmatic set-up against the counter-attacking danger of Dortmund. Pellegrini's former Malaga striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has described him as 'a big strategist' and we're pretty sure the same has never been said of Moyes.


4) Ability to attract players
Manchester United will clearly still be a magnet for elite footballers under Moyes but - aside from those he coached at Everton - it will be the lure of the club rather than the manager that now attracts players to Old Trafford. While Phil Jagielka would presumably "relish the opportunity to work with the gaffer again", we doubt Robert Lewandowski would choose Moyes over Pep Guardiola or Cesc Fabregas would opt to work under the Scot rather than be reunited with Arsene Wenger.

Pellegrini's standing in Europe is rather higher, with Guardiola one of his biggest fans and fallen giants like Juan Roman Riquelme and Javier Saviola crediting the Chilean with the rejuvenation of their careers. While Moyes may bring Leighton Baines and Jagielka from his old club, a City side managed by Pellegrini can perhaps look forward to signing one of Spain's golden boys in the electrifying Isco. City's money is likely to be the biggest contributing factor in the possible arrivals of Jesus Navas and Edinson Cavani but the name of their manager will also carry some considerable weight.


5) Breadth of knowledge and experience
United may have been attracted to Moyes' capacity for longevity and loyalty but an 11-year stint at the same club with the same ambitions also narrows his experience. Aside from those rare forays into Europe, Moyes has almost exclusively managed in English domestic football and has largely bought players from English domestic football. There have been exceptions - Marouane Fellaini is probably the best example - but several attempts to shop in a different market (Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Per Kroldrup, Andy van der Meyde) have ended in disaster.

Moyes has the significant advantage of understanding the Premier League (he will know far, far more about Stoke and Sunderland) but his likely cross-city rival will be managing in his fifth country, can speak English along with his native Spanish and - as detailed above - has extensive experience in European competition. While it seems unlikely that Moyes could surprise us over the next two/three years, you suspect that Pellegrini has a trick or two up his sleeve. Or maybe we just like his fulsome hair.

Sarah Winterburn

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

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