Pellegrini calm ahead of City debut

first_img Yet it is not a task that fazes him. When asked if he was nervous, Pellegrini said: “No, absolutely not. I have a very good squad so I am not nervous.” City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano stated boldly over the summer that the club want to win five trophies in the next five seasons. Pellegrini’s predecessor Roberto Mancini was sacked at the end of last season just a year after winning the Premier League. But Pellegrini is determined to take City’s demands in his stride and feels he has dealt with plenty of difficult situations in the past. “I have worked in a lot of different leagues, very difficult leagues,” he said. “To manage River Plate in Argentina is not easy, to manage Real Madrid in Spain is not easy. “I am very excited about my new job but I don’t want to compare. They are all very good leagues and I try to always give my best.” Manuel Pellegrini claims not to feel any nerves as he prepares for his competitive bow as Manchester City manager. The laid-back Chilean officially launches his career in England as City host Newcastle in their opening match of the new Barclays Premier League season on Monday night. The 59-year-old faces the daunting challenge of having to win multiple trophies, and in style, to meet the lofty expectations of the club’s hierarchy. Mancini’s sacking was controversial but Pellegrini’s calm confidence – coupled with the spending of almost £90million on four new players – has done much to win over fans. Pellegrini is confident he has the squad at his disposal to start challenging for trophies immediately. He said: “For me the Champions League is very, very important but so is the Premier League. “I will try to play for the four – FA Cup, Capital One Cup, Champions League and Premier League, to try to win them all. We have a strong squad to try to win it all.” Pellegrini even joked that he has already set off on the winning trail after City won the Premier League-sanctioned tournament in Hong Kong last month. He said: “We just need four more – we won the Asia Trophy! “No, I think we will try to do our best in all the competitions and when we finish the year we will see what happens with how many trophies we have won.” Competition for places in the City squad has intensified and there has been speculation over the future of midfielder Gareth Barry, who is now in the final year of his contract. Pellegrini said: “In the position of Gareth we have also (Jack) Rodwell, (Javi) Garcia, Fernandinho and Yaya Toure. “I spoke with Gareth. He wants to stay here and he does not have any problems staying here to fight for his position like any other player in the squad. If he wants to go because has better options – it depends on what he wants to do.” Press Associationlast_img read more

Northern Ireland ‘needs’ to reach Euro 2016, says boss Michael O’Neill

first_img Norman Whiteside, Pat Jennings and Sammy McIlroy were some of the last Northern Irishmen to feature in a finals competition at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, but O’Neill’s current crop could end that long hiatus as early as Monday. Victories over the Faroe Islands and Hungary, coupled with the latter dropping points against Group F leaders Romania on Friday, would assure Northern Ireland of a place in France next summer. Northern Ireland are on the cusp of qualifying for a major tournament for the first time in 30 years, and boss Michael O’Neill believes the country “needs” to be in France for Euro 2016 next summer. And O’Neill has issued a rallying cry to his squad ahead of the crunch double header in their qualifying campaign, urging them to deliver an historic moment for their nation. “If we were to manage to maintain our form and secure qualification, I think it would be the first time in history that a pot-five team has qualified,” O’Neill said. “That gives you an indication of where this team has come to. “The motivation is there because Northern Ireland needs it. Simple as that. Nothing else. “We need it as a country and as a group of players, as a group of supporters. We’re not hiding behind that, and we want to deliver it. We need this and I think the players recognise they have the capability to deliver it.” O’Neill can speak from personal experience, too, having played during the 30-year wilderness before taking the helm in 2011. He and a raft of other Northern Irishmen never came close to experiencing a summer tournament against Europe or the world’s elite, and O’Neill thinks his current squad recognise they can make an indelible mark on their own careers. “Obviously the prize is huge and you do think both about the significance of qualification and, if it didn’t go our way, the significance of that also,” he said. “But within this group of players there’s a hard core of players who recognise that there’s a real opportunity for them to have their international careers significantly remembered. “There are lot of players who have played down the years for Northern Ireland and not had the chance to go to a major finals, a lot of really good players. “This is a group of players who have given themselves this opportunity with what they’ve done to date, so I don’t worry that mentally they’ll not be able to handle the situation or the games that lie ahead. They recognise the prize that lies ahead for them and I’ve every confidence. “The likes of Steven (Davis), Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird, just to name three players alone, have served Northern Ireland now for the best part of 10, 15 years. It would be their reward to get to the finals. It’s that type of player and other senior players around them that have put themselves in this position.” Press Associationlast_img read more