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Pellegrini aiming for first trophy

1 March 2014

Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City could begin a historic haul of trophies by winning Sunday’s Capital One Cup Final against Sunderland

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will be aiming for a double first when he sends his team out to face Sunderland in Sunday’s Capital One Cup Final.

Lifting the trophy at Wembley would give Pellegrini his first trophy in English football, the Chilean having taken charge at the Etihad Stadium last summer.

More importantly for the club and its fans, victory over the Black Cats could be the first installment of what would be a unique quadruple of titles.

City have put themselves in line to win not only the Capital One Cup but also the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

Their hopes of European glory took a hit when they lost 2-0 in the home leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie against Barcelona.

But 10 days ahead of the second leg in Spain, the Etihad Stadium team can give themselves a massive boost by winning at Wembley.

And Pellegrini, who won titles in his native Chile but has not done so in a decade of working in Europe, knows how vital a Capital One Cup triumph could be.

“I think it is very important for the team to have a winning mentality and to have an ambitious mentality,” said the former Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga boss.

“Both of those things,” he added, “start from winning the Capital One Cup and then trying to win other titles.

“It would be a big achievement personally because it is not easy when you have just arrived from another league and you don’t know a lot about the players, about the club, about the other teams.

“I think it is always important for a manager to have a title to his name, and I am sure we are doing the right things, in the right way, to try to win this trophy and to try to fight for other titles this year.”

Doing the right things in the right way has proved fruitful for City this season, Pellegrini’s attacking approach having yielded 118 goals to date.

That has helped the manager win over City fans who were sceptical about his appointment following the controversial sacking of the popular Roberto Mancini.

Pellegrini said: “For any supporter of any club, they want to go to the stadium and see their team scoring goals. 

“This season has maybe been special in that sense, because we have been scoring a lot of goals and I think that the way that we play is also very important.”

The goals have dried up of late – City have hit the net just three times in their last five games – but they will nevertheless be expected to overwhelm Sunderland.

Third in the Premier League table with a game in hand on leaders Chelsea, they should be too strong for a Black Cats side stuck in the relegation zone.

But last season, in what proved to be Mancini’s last game in charge, they suffered a shock Wembley defeat against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup final. 

That should be warning enough ahead of Sunday’s contest, reckons Pellegrini, who said: “I don't like to talk with them about last year, but I'm sure for every player it is a lesson.

“For all of them it is not revenge – it is another team, another year, another situation – but I am absolutely sure all will be 100 per cent motivated to win.”

Pellegrini’s own motivation to lift the trophy could not be stronger as he looks to complete the first part of what he is hoping will be an historic quadruple.

"We would be very happy if we achieve it,” he said, “because it reflects all your work from the year.

“We have played a very good Capital One Cup. We have won all the games, scored 19 goals and conceded just one – I think it is very important to win this Cup.”

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