Each day this week the team here at Bitter and Blue will be counting down the 2013/14 Premier League season with a post each day this week leading up to the opening weekend.
The format is simple: five questions in total, one question per day Monday through Friday.
First up, 'What are your initial impressions of Manuel Pellegrini?'....
SufferingBruin: I'm told it's best to just come right out say it rather than keep it inside so here goes: I, SufferingBruin, have a serious mancrush on Pellegrini. There, I said it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to explain a few things to my wife.
kmoney2405: With only having a pre season to judge his performance as a coach thus far, it is tough to make an accurate assessment. But so far, I am extremely pleased with what I have seen from our boys under his tutelage. City has gelled well together so far, especially given the changes that have been made with the incoming and outgoing transfers. His strategy has rejuvenated the team, it will be interesting to see how his 2nd year (if he makes it) will go, because after the success Mancini had, the following season was less than successful. Finally, Pellegrini scares me, so there's that.
sonics097: I like what I've seen so far. He seems very light-hearted in all of the interviews I've seen, and the players seem to have taken a liking to him. Obviously it's too early to speak on his tactics/motivating skills, but we'll see more on those soon enough.
Zac Macphee: I'm a fan, although I think I've made that pretty clear with my Villarreal and Malaga pieces. I think he's an excellent man-manager, as evidenced with the way he's already managed Edin Dzeko this summer. When I watched Dzeko last season, I saw a player short of confidence who didn't think he had the support of the manager; when I watched Dzeko in the pre-season tours, I saw a player who was brimming with confidence, and no wonder, as everything Pellegrini has said about him since the Chilean arrived has been positive. Even the quick conversation we saw with him and John Guidetti in Pellegrini's initial walkthrough of the City compound served as a breath of fresh air after Mancini's sometimes harsh relationship with players.
He seems perfectly comfortable with the pressure that comes with this position (although only time will tell if that remains true in April and May). Furthermore, I'm fully confident in his ability to lead City on a proper European campaign - something he was clearly brought in to do.
lafaitele: My feeling on Pellegrini is that he is the type to win players over to his style, and show them how good they can get as a team. I bet that he's had some good sit downs with some of the under-performing players from last season, like Samir Nasri, Dzeko, Joe Hart, and Sergio Aguero. Those guys took some major beatings last season from the last manager, and I think he'll want to show them that his style is different.
Basically he's the anti-Mancini. Bobby Mac was the kind of guy to get you fired up, whether that meant you were pissed off at him or some outside target. Didn't matter to him, as long as you were fired up for the match. Problem is, you can only so much antagonizing of players before they start to get rubbed the wrong way. I think that the Engineer is doing a great job of bringing the team together. We've seen a major change so far from Dzeko, especially how important to the team he is feeling. I'm excited to see the way the squad gels together under the new managers tactical and man management skills.
Harkiano: It is impossible to talk about Pellegrini without contrasting him to Mancini as it is so early in his reign, but the difference between the two of them is quite dramatic! Where Mancini was direct, a little petulant and somewhat abrasive at times, Pellegrini is very understated, mature and generally calm. Of course as the season plays out it will be interesting to see how Pellegrini responds to pressure but first impressions have have been extremely positive. If he can get the best out of the players in the squad then I would say we have a great chance this year.
shuddertothink: Difficult to say. Can we judge on pre-season games? Probably not. Nor can we gain any insight on Pellegrini from words said at press conferences.
What little we do know about Pellegrini and his methods of work come from the small snapshots that we see on InsideCity. From those shows Pellegrini appears to be a serious man on the training ground, not too close to his players. The best information we gleaned about our new manager came from the InsideCity episode which focused on Pellegrini's arrival where the Chilean appeared studious and interested in all areas of the club.
I guess this question is about tactics and from the pre-season games I have seen there doesn't appear to be a huge formation change from Mancini's City. Pellegrini is perceived to be a significant upgrade over his predecessor but we have to see competitive games to learn about our new managers tactical set-up, the game tempo and his ability to influence the game with his substitutions.
Danny Pugsley: Initial impressions are that he is a less abrasive character than Mancini was, which will make for less of the soundbites and headlines we saw last season. This should help smooth relations with certain players that were irked by Mancini and I'm inclined to think his approach will be more evolution than revolution. We know his general tactical approach and how he likes to line up but it will be interesting to see how he reacts to game situations and makes those decisions which prove crucial in terms of accumulating points.