MANUEL Pellegrini insists he feels no pressure to keep his job as Manchester City manager but that won’t stop speculation that his time in the job will end this season following their elimination from the Champions League on Wednesday.
City lost 1-0 at Barcelona who won their round of 16 tie 3-1 on aggregate to knock the Premier League champions out of the competition at the same stage for the second successive season.
Barcelona would have won by a far bigger margin on Wednesday if City keeper Joe Hart had not been in superb form, preventing his side from conceding even more goals with at least four outstanding saves.
But despite what was in essence a comprehensive beating, Pellegrini maintained his stance that circumstances conspired against City and that he does not feel under any immediate threat.
After saying talks about his future would take place at the end of the season, whether City retain their Premier League title or not, he said: “Lionel Messi was imperious — at the moment we have to accept Barcelona are better.
“It is not a failure, it is a disappointment. We have been unlucky to play Barcelona for two years in a row. We have had a restriction on the number of players we can use in the Champions League.
“It is very difficult to beat Barcelona, but the statistics I don’t care about. We cannot analyse what we will do next season because it is too soon after this result. We can do that later.
“It is not easy to play Barcelona. This is the draw, they are very strong. At least we have improved.”
City captain Vincent Kompany agreed that City need to improve even more as he told Sky Sports after the game.
“The reality is that they were the better team and there is no shame in admitting that. There is a big big difference between Barcelona, and I would mention Bayern Munich, and the rest,” Kompany said.
“You can win the Premier League, you can beat Arsenal and Chelsea and so on, and you can lose to them as well, but between all those teams and the ones I have mentioned, there is a huge gap and we have to work to close that gap.”
The average age of the City team that started against Barcelona was over 29 and one way of closing the gap would be for City to buy some younger players, but whether they are signed by Pellegrini or someone else is the unanswered question at the moment.