When Manuel Pellegrini took over the Manchester City FC reins from Roberto Mancini just under a year ago, he was immediately tasked with reclaiming the Premier League crown.
It seemed a daunting challenge for a manager taking his first steps in English football and whose CV did not contain a European league title. The Chilean has kept an ice-cool countenance throughout, however, even when a 3-2 defeat at Liverpool FC last month left his side seven points off the pace with six games remaining. A 2-2 home draw with Sunderland AFC three days later was considered by many to be the final nail in City's season.
With Liverpool and Chelsea FC unable to hold their nerve at the summit, though, Pellegrini's charges pounced by posting five straight wins in convincing style. Requiring just a point to finish the job on Sunday, City swept aside West Ham United FC 2-0 courtesy of goals in each half from Samir Nasri and captain Vincent Kompany. The incredible euphoria of 2012 was replaced by a calming satisfaction, with Pellegrini and Kompany nonetheless itching for greater things.
"It's a great experience: it's not easy to come to the Premier League – the most difficult league in the world," Pellegrini explained. "Big teams cannot be satisfied with one title and that is very important. We celebrate today, tomorrow, Monday and on Tuesday start working for next season because this club and the players deserve more titles."
Kompany – a cornerstone of the club's meteoric rise – epitomises the unrelenting drive and ambition that Pellegrini has instilled in his players. "Forget about the money and everything. As a kid, you grow up and dream of lifting trophies. I feel like I am living that dream when I do this," said the 28-year-old centre-back. "We are building a club, not just a team that wins trophies every now and again. Next year we need to be even better. If you want to be a big club, then this must be one of many trophies."
The consensus that City are far from finished in their quest to join Europe's elite was also shared by full-back Pablo Zabaleta, another dependable, uncomplicated performer this term. "This is fantastic," he said. "The players, staff, fans and every single person who works for this club are trying to make us bigger. We know the way to do it is with a strong mentality and the players deserve it."
"It is the manager's first season in the Premier League and he won it. We know how special the Premier League is. We need to be proud because we know the owners have spent big over the last few years to make it happen. It's time to celebrate, but we are also hungry to bring more success to this club."
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